Twenty40 opened a little more than a year ago in Los Feliz with a small selection of pastries and coffee. It's owned by the same team behind McCall's Meat and Fish Co. across the street, who for a long time have been offering some sweet baked goods at their butcher shop. In the last few weeks, Twenty40 has added bigger breakfast and lunch menus, with more savory items. These folks move slowly, but they do excellent work.
Just like McCall's, Twenty40 makes use of high-quality ingredients — which means that the cafe is in no way a bargain. The “poached egg with mushrooms and bacon jam” truly is just one poached egg. But good heavens, what a tiny little bowl of near-perfection, with just a hint of sweet hidden in the bacon and behind the herbs. The house-baked bread it comes with is delicious (though it's overkill to have both that slice and the croutons mine came with).
This is a European-style cafe, not just in food — there aren't many casual eateries on the West Coast that serve steak tartare for lunch — but in philosophy as well. For instance, Wi-Fi is not available to customers. This puts customers (including me, I'll admit it) into a bit of a tailspin, as we're so used to pairing our coffee and pastry with a bit of panicked writing or seething Facebooking. But it's worth embracing the Luddite attitude here, if only because the food is of such high caliber. You really want to focus on your kouign amann, the work-intensive pastry that's sort of like a croissant, only with more layers and more butter and even some sugar … It could be the highlight of your day. Even a very good day.
Twenty40 has recently added a patio, so I'd recommend saving your pennies and heading over there when you have a few free hours some morning. Get a savory first breakfast, then a sweet second breakfast. Watch the puppy parade down Hillhurst. Don't look at your phone. Enjoy.
2040 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 660-3868.
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