Eggslut London: A first taste as LA's hottest bun arrives on Portobello Road

Reviews, recipes and a feast of flavours

Reviews, recipes and a feast of flavours

It started with £5,000 and a food truck. Classically trained chef Alvin Cailan scraped together some money with his cousin and launched a streetfood business. He was literally putting all his eggs in one basket, and started scrambling them, serving them between a bun as an Instagram-friendly all-day breakfast.

The truck was affectionately known as Old Bessie but the business had a bolder name: Eggslut. Soon, hordes of LA foodies were queuing for hours to take a photo and tuck in.  That was in 2011.

Eight years later, via three sites in California, and others in Las Vegas, Beirut and Kuwait, the controversially monikered group opened in a small bar on Portobello Road. They chose W11 because “of the artist community,” says Whitney Myrus, the man responsible for Eggslut’s eighth opening. He likens the area to “the Venice Beach of London”.

It is predicted that this new site will get through around 20,000 eggs a week — Clarence Court Burford Browns, they’re very particular — mostly in takeaways: “We have covers, because we want to give our customers the opportunity to sit down, but typically you can consume this food in 10 minutes. It’s not designed to be a dine-in destination.”


Eggslut: London, in pictures


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1/7 A bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

2/7 The signature dish, the Slut

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

3/7 Another look at the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

4/7 T-shirts take inspiration from classic band logos, like Nivana

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

5/7 The kitchen staff plating up

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

6/7 The sign is set to be a hit on the ‘gram

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

7/7 The dishes have taken LA by storm

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

1/7 A bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

2/7 The signature dish, the Slut

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

3/7 Another look at the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

4/7 T-shirts take inspiration from classic band logos, like Nivana

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

5/7 The kitchen staff plating up

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

6/7 The sign is set to be a hit on the ‘gram

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

7/7 The dishes have taken LA by storm

Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd

Not that this is fast food in the traditional sense. “The typical Eggslut experience is going to start with a queue,” says Myrus. “In Vegas, it can be as long as a two-hour wait, and at Taste of London, where we did a pop up, we constantly had a queue. There were a couple times it was 90 minutes.” 

The crowds will likely be coming for two of their signatures dishes. One, named for the LA street Cailan used to park his truck on, is a GBP9 sandwich called the Fairfax; a brioche bun holding soft scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese and caramelised onions. The other is the Slut, where coddled egg sits on a potato puree, and is poached in a glass jar.

It doesn’t look anywhere near as provocative as its name. Neither does the concrete grey restaurant, monochrome but for a few streaks of neon yellow. “The name’s an interesting thing, right?” says Myrus, “Immediately when people hear it, some get shocked. Understood — but it’s a chef’s term, it just essentially refers to somebody who always just says ‘add an egg to it’ when they’re cooking.”

(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

That must be an LA thing — no London chefs the Standard spoke to had heard it used before — but its outrageousness has worked, even if Myrus isn’t convinced the name contributed much to their success: “Yeah, it’s provocative, but at the same time, if you come in and experience our food, that shock value kind of goes away.”

The ‘gram is a different story. “We grew up on Instagram, so it had a huge impact. Before we even announced that we were going to come here, there were 10,000 followers who were based in the UK.

5,000 of those people were based in London. So you know it, it’s a logical step.”

Would they follow the numbers regardless of where they were in the world? “Absolutely. It’s another piece in the part, it would certainly put our focus on that market — and says, ‘Let’s look at that market. Why is that market that way?'”

Controversial cooking: the chain’s signature dish, the Slut (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

Though Eggslut is planning a site in Tokyo, for now the focus is staying on London, where Shoreditch and Soho are top of the list. “It’s not a brand that’s going to be on every street corner,” he says, but “we’ve committed to opening up 10 locations across all of the UK.”

How quickly? “How quickly can I get the right real estate?” Talking of it as a destination restaurant, Myrus is convinced the food is going to win over the sceptics, admitting that he didn’t like eggs before he tried the Vegas branch, “where I said, ‘That is the best sandwich I’ve had in my entire life. In half a century!’.” 

Sure, he adds, he knows the name will turn a few people off.

It doesn’t seem to bother him — after all, you can’t make a Fairfax without breaking a few eggs. 

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