As I do from time to time, I went for a bit of breakfast (at about 2pm). What a great place...
The Little Kitchen (located very close to Clapham North tube station [map]) is a really good "greasy spoon". I realised this morning, in my caffiene deprived stupor, that actually, it's one of the most honest, good value, customer focused restaurant I've been to in a very long time.
It's easy to get hung up about the "service" you get in places (like restaurants). Many places, because they try to purvey some sort of image, dilute raw customer service skills. Also, some places, perhaps because they're large, or because they have staff turnover issues do not deliver the kind of service they might otherwise be able to achieve. In other words, circumstances, either natural or deliberate get in the way.
You'll find none of this in The Little Kitchen. Here, the surroundings are basic - if you're very particular about how clean the floor is, or how frequently your table gets wiped, then you may not be happy. However, get past this, then get yourself one of almost any kind of English Breakfast you can imagine. Normally you'll get a raffle ticket so that you and the staff know who's who and what food goes where. If it's quiet, they'll dispense with this and just shout things out.
One way or another, you'll get your food. The food is incredibly cheap, and really pretty damn good. Popularist thinking about healthy food hasn't really reached The Little Kitchen, and I have to say, a good thing too. As I said, it's all about honesty.
From a customer service perspective, we could all learn something from this place. Things are basic, but exactly what you're expecting. It's always like that. If you want "customised food", then no problem - just use the basic components that they provide and you're away. You know what you're getting, and that's what you get - managed expectations and exceptional delivery.
This morning actually, I asked for a meal which included sausages. After a few minutes, the server comes over, and really apologetically tells me that she's got no sausages prepared, but she can give me extra bacon. I agree, and so she dishes up the food, and brings it over, fetches the cutlery, offers sauce etc etc. In other words, she was about to underdeliver, reset my expectations and then exceeded them. Excellent - and all for ?3.25.
Anyway, what ever - if you're anywhere near Clapham, and you fancy some food, then head over to The Little Kitchen. You'll get some good, honest food and service at extremely good value. If you're a tourist, then go for a little bit of London you won't find in any guide book, and hey, it's a bit like going to "the caff" in Eastenders ;-)