It was very busy on weekends, the day was rushed. Mostly it was
English families coming for peach melbas and ice cream sundaes.
When it closed down, business was pretty well dead then. The
owner neglected the place in the last years.
The Regent opened in 1952 (on the first
day they only sold three ice creams). The
Metropolitan dates from around same time. The owners are
Turkish. I was at the Metropolitan for two years. The chef has
been there for God knows how long. They still have the same massive
old range in the kitchen. The guy always says: "how are
you my friend."
To be honest, when I was working there
I didn't appreciate the interior - now I would. At the time I
was just going to do a day's work. Now I'm more aware. At the
Metropolitan I learnt to serve, cook, use the till after a while
I moved to the City as a sandwich maker. Worked there for ten
years then I bought the lease on this place: the Snack Bar, Brooks
Mews. A supplier knew I was looking for my own place and told
me it was for sale - but it was a short lease. I wasn't scared
to give it a go so I came to look. Budget-wise it did me fine.
I took it over in 1999. Before that an elderly couple had it
for 30 years; another couple had had it for about the same time
before them! I had to do the front up a bit because it was at
the end of its life; I had to make some changes. I had to put
the kitchen area partition in so that customers didn't get spattered.
All the wall pictures are original as are all the table and chairs.
But there's plans for the Mews now; have
been for ten years. Upstairs haven't renewed their lease and
I don't think ours will be renewed after 2006. Now you've got
to deal with so many health inspectors; so much rubbish... That's
why I had to patch this place up; but the lease is so short that
I've never had it done properly. We do get people coming round
on the back of the book coming
out; they have a look, out of curiosity.
The Metropolitan were going to sell the
cafe to us. They made us an offer but I wasn't ready at the time.
You got all the council estates round there; big gangs, people
not paying, walking out, you get the front of the shop put in.
I don't need the hassle. Someone once approached me with a knife
there. It's the way people are. The owner punched the hell out
of someone once. The police came but pretended they didn't know
him. Over here I've been happier - apart from sarcastic remarks
about the prices..."
Photo Special #1
Brooks Mews Photo