Published: 06:00, 03 June 2021
| Updated: 16:23, 03 June 2021
There's something quintessentially British about burger vans.
Where else would you stand in a dodgy field, side of the road or car park for some greasy, smelly, fried meat in bread?
Years back on family outings around Maidstone I'd hound my dad for a hot dog or sausage sandwich from any burger van we saw, even if I wasn't hungry. It's the experience of "eating out".
That's why Sophie' Snack bar was where I headed on a warm bank holiday morning.
Sandwiched between Lockmeadow and McDonald's in Maidstone, it sits dead centre of B&Q's car park, which meant I could kill two birds with one stone and grab some slug tape before I ordered.
I rocked up to the busy car park just after 10am and looked for the safest spot to stand between a group of four, while keeping socially distanced.
Just a stones throw from the Gourmet Griddle, which was reviewed by a fellow bespectacled Maidstonite, there's plenty of other food options nearby but nothing was keeping me from this.
"One breakfast box and a sausage and bacon stick please," I asked of the woman who looked near to collapsing in the heat.
I soon found out why she looked so hot as I stood tall in the mid-twenty something heat. With the sun blazing down on me it was hard to tell whether it was the bacon sizzling on the grill or my pale complexion taking a beating from the UV rays.
A 13-minute wait in the sun with no place to hide wasn't the most enjoyable, but in hindsight sitting in my car with the air-con on was always an option.
But if I'd done that I'd have missed the comical conversations between the two workers pleading with one of their regulars to buy some cigarettes from the shop, or watching a dropped coke can explode and soak anyone within a two metre radius (thank God for social distancing).
Nearly 15 minutes after ordering, having seen my skin turn from a pale egg shell white to salmon pink, it was time to jump in the motor and head home.
Back in the cool indoors I whacked open the breakfast box first and was met with two fried eggs, two bits of bacon, two hashbrowns, a sausage, tomatoes, beans and two slices of bread and butter. There was the option for mushrooms but I, like any sensible person, can't stand them.
The food was better than expected with the sausage and bacon cooked to perfection and beans stodgy and warm but not too hot.
My only criticism would be for the eggs which were quite rubbery, a bit crisp round the edges of one while the other was nearly transparent.
It also looked a bit bigger than it was and taking just under five minutes to ram it down my gullet I was glad I got the extra breakfast stick, which looked like half a baguette.
This is where things got serious and an un-dying appreciation for burger vans grows stronger.
A giant French baguette stuffed to near explosion with two foot-long sausages, well-cooked, but not over cooked, bacon and red sauce is what all meat eaters' dreams are made of.
Still hot from the drive home and short period to finish off the breakfast box, the breakfast stick took me back to my younger care-free days where the worst thing in the world was being denied anything from the burger van by a grumpy father.
It was so good that as I write this on Tuesday, the first day of my "diet" I'm contemplating sacking it in already. In a world full of McDonald's, KFCs, Nando's and Five Guys, I'd always go for a big ol' breakfast sandwich from the local burger van.
Ratings out of five
Food: Sensational. Cooked to perfection, bar one dodgy egg, left me wanting to come back as soon as possible. *****
Drink: Free drink with the breakfast box. No Oasis and drinks fridge was broken, so slightly warm Fanta Zero was the disappointing option. **
Decor: Is there any place better to spend your weekend than B&Q car park? Yes. But it was sunny. **
Staff: Chatty, funny and helpful with recommondations. Soaked some customers with a wild coke though. ****
Price: £10 for the breakfast box and foot-long sausage and bacon stick. Absolutely worth it for the quality of food. *****