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Le Signore Cafe and Snack Bar

A place that has nothing to do with James Bond or Ian Fleming

By Alan RussellPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
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Le Signore Snack Bar, 4 Palace Street , London, SW1E 5HY

When I was planning a walk from Green Street near Marble Arch to Somerset House overlooking the Thames I included Buckingham Palace. The reason for this particular walk was to follow in the steps of James Bond, the legend, and Ian Fleming his creator. About a month before the walk took place I wrote to the Palace and asked if it would be possible during the walk to pop in for a bacon roll and a cuppa tea. I emphasised that we would bring these along. I even used my best Croxley script stationery.

Up to the morning of the walk, Thursday 26th October 2023, I had not received a reply and even now as October struggles through its last days like a racehorse struggling to clear the last two furlongs of Cheltenham towards the end of a four mile steeplechase, there has been no reply.

Along the route we would pass Boodles, The Reform Club and Duke’s Hotel. The first two esteemed establishments are strictly members only. And Duke’s has a very strict dress code which neither of us could adhere to as we had both dressed for comfort rather than style. Trainers, jeans, wax coats, baseball caps and backpacks we felt were most definitely not code vestimentair compliant.

We had passed high end hotels along Park Lane, Middle Eastern restaurants in and around Shepherd Market and a couple of discrete entrances into casinos but very few cafes. Then as we walked along Buckingham Gate and past the entrance to The Royal Mews we saw “Le Signore” at 4 Palace Street and what a find this was.

It is an Italian family owned café with a shopfront no wider than an average semi-detached house. “Papa” works the counter at the front taking orders for rolls, sandwiches and cooked meals. He never stops working and all the time he is bantering with the punters as they come in. “Mama” runs the till, does some cooking, makes up the drinks and waits on the tables. We ordered a couple of baps and our drinks. “Papa” said it would all be brought to the table for us.

There was a buzz of conversation and energy about the place. The banter from the front was in English or Italian. There was no background music or even a tv stuck on a wall. There was no need for either as it was Mama and Papa behind the counter who created the atmosphere without any artificial aids.

Over the general hub bub everyone could hear a helicopter inside the palace grounds winding itself up for a take-off. The noise of the engine and the rotors sounded like a huge leaf blower and the way the sound changed everyone could tell it was taking to the air.

“I’ve told him there’s a no need to come here to get a bacon roll…we will a deliver” Papa said.

“Does he come here?” a customer asked, presumably a tourist.

“Oh yes. Eee pops across for a bacon roll. I tell im there’s a no need to come over…we can send Deliveroo or Uber…it’s a no problem. Isn’t that right Mama?”

“Don’t a believe a word ee says” Mama replied.

When we went to pay the bill before we left it only came to £12. That was for two baps a cuppa tea and a Coca Cola in a café less than five hundred yards from the walls of Buckingham Palace.

My apologies for the slightly blurred picture. As I was taking the shot an electric powered white transit van was approaching me silently from behind. It was only at what seemed the last moment that I was able to step out of its way. Well, being electric how could I hear it above the general traffic noise?

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About the Creator

Alan Russell

When you read my words they may not be perfect but I hope they:

1. Engage you

2. Entertain you

3. At least make you smile (Omar's Diaries) or

4. Think about this crazy world we live in and

5. Never accept anything at face value

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