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When Lord Alan Sugar sends his hopeful apprentices to think about why they lost their most recent task, he tends to choose the most sorry, run down, state of a place, where they ponder their prospects on the £250k gameshow.
For many years his choice was The Bridge Café, West London. I believe this was unfair and that actually the café is a hidden gem, made better by the absence of Lord Sugar’s cocky contestants.
The greasy spoon, in Acton, is no longer the place for entrepreneurial contestants to worry about their future.
For the newest series of the BBC One programme, the broadcasters have found a new spot in North London.
I went down to the former spot to find out whether it really did deserve to be a place that so many were scared of entering.
For me, without the help of a Lord Sugar shuttle service, it meant a walk from North Acton tube station to find the café blessed with hosting the weekly losers of each task – as they share, possibly, their last cuppa together.
Nestled on the side road of an industrial estate, the first challenge in each series could have been finding the tea room.
Luckily, you can actually smell the café before you see it and I followed my nose until I found the spot.
At first glance it looked closed, the front door looks more like a prison door and doesn’t have a single window on it.
In contrast, the inside was warm, friendly and filled with punters – mainly builders.
Although the door reminded me of the entry to a prison cell, the only other likeness to a prison was the fact that all the food seemed to be cheap as chips.
Huge fry ups for £7, a cup of coffee for £1.50, while bacon butties and sausage sandwiches also filled the menu boards.
The prices were enough to make a profit hunting apprentice sick, but I’dd found a bargain and sat at a table with my coffee.
With all other seats taken by labourers and workmen from the surrounding industries, I sat by the window. I was greeted by the great view of… another side of the industrial estate.
I can’t say I was disappointed, I hadn’t signed up for luxury, and the café provides exactly what it says on the tin.
Among all the new hipster spots in the capital it was quite a breath of fresh air to enter somewhere that still holds onto the traditional British, greasy spoon, builders breakfast, full English, cheap coffee style of service.
I don’t see myself returning, but that’s mainly because it’s location isn’t all that convenient for me.
After over a decade, the café is still going strong. It provides a wonderful service for those in the area and is a landmark location in British reality TV history.
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If I ever need to recommend somewhere to eat on Park Royal’s trading estate I would definitely suggest The Bridge Café, so long as they’re not vegan.
If you want to visit The Bridge Café it is open from 7am to 2.30pm Monday to Friday.
It can be found here: Acton, Westfields Road, London W3 0AP.
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