After World War II, London was a melting pot of nationalities and, as informal eating becoming more acceptable, Italian cafes began springing up throughout the capital.
Sixty years on the appeal remains. Supermodels and shop assistants, fashion editors and bike couriers sit happily side by side at the gingham clothed tables of the Star Cafe.
Under the watchful eye of Mario Forte, the Star has been serving all-day breakfasts and oversized portions of fresh grub since his father opened its doors in 1933.
It's a favourite of artist management company ICM's cool brigade and senior execs from Soho Square's myriad of film and PR companies, and Johnny Vaughan sits happily unnoticed in a corner munching on the best fried-egg sandwiches in London.
While Nobu, Zuma et al are rustling up fancy dishes with extortionate price tags, the Star Cafe offers mouth-watering meatballs on a mountain of steaming pasta, superb salmon fishcakes and seeded baps bursting with home-made fillings. Follow this with apple pie and custard and melt-in-the-mouth hot chocolate fudge cake.
With not a Michelin star in sight and no need to book, the Star Cafe is a world away from the tasteless cheap eats and neon lights of Oxford Street.
Where: 22 Great Chapel Street, London
Contact: 020 7437 8778
How much: £8.50-£10 a head