Archive for the ‘London NW1’ Category

Crown Cafe, Crowndale Road, Mornington Crescent

March 3, 2012

First visited: Wednesday 29th February 2012

Interior: Crown Cafe, which I used to live very near, but never visited (hard to justify paying for a cuppa when you have a kettle at home) has a slightly odd interior. The wooden boards on the walls give it a strangely rustic look, perhaps even a country and western one. The ‘formica’ tables were fairly standard and the chairs very modern but the pictures include two rather strange collages representing ‘London’ and ‘New York’, the former which included an image of a Routemaster bus but the photo had been reversed so the destination was back to front. Or maybe it was supposed to be reflected in a car wing mirror? Anyway, it’s always suffered from a dark interior, which was another reason why I didn’t use to visit it when I lived nearby, but it’s quirky decor made up for that.

Food: I had mushrooms on toast which were delicious. The bread was the usual supermarket bendable foam rubber, but the mushrooms were really tasty. My teabag wasn’t left in, but the tea was just strong enough. My only objection was the price – £3.80 seemed a bit steep for what I had, but then I suppose mushrooms are luxury items in caffs (more so than sausages). Anyway, sometimes you need to pay for what you need, and I needed mushrooms on toast.

Inhabition, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town

December 17, 2010

First visited: 17th December 2010

Interior: Pale laminate flooring and varnished pine tables could have made Inhabition a little austere, but in fact it’s one of the cosiest caffs I’ve visited in ages. As its name suggests, it is not the average greasy spoon, but it is not achingly trendy either. Perhaps it’s the theatre posters which makes it feel so welcoming and the proper caff menu which makes it feel so unpretentious. At any rate, a pleasant place to be in, even if it weren’t snowing outside (which it was).

Food: As it was lunchtime, I went for a full breakfast of the vegetarian variety. I was pleased to see bubble rather than the ubiquitous hash browns (I know bubble is just yesterday’s leftover mash and veg, but it is lovely, isn’t it?) and plenty of fresh, if characterless, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. The poached eggs were perfect. The let-down for me was the veggie sausage, but then I only really like glamorgan sausage in a meat-free breakfast, so I’m not the ideal person to judge. If I may say so, the tea, a generous helping served in a pot, was almost too strong for me and I asked them to top it up with hot water when I’d got through the first lot. Sadly, they added another teabag for which they charged me, rather defeating the purpose, but the thought was there.

Fresh Cut Cafe, Crowndale Road

September 17, 2009

**NB as of Saturday 19th December 2009 this is now called Crown Cafe, but seems unchanged other than the new sign**

Visited: Saturday 12th September 2009

Interior: A warm and friendly traditional interior has been marred by some rather stark stripping down – the bare brick walls and flagstone floors seem more appropriate for wood-fired pizza thane egg on toast. However, leatherette chairs helped to keep ththe atmosphere cosy.

Food: I had fried egg, mushrooms and tomato on 2 brown toast and the egg was really excellent, the tomatoes fine and the mushrooms okay, but not up there with Perugino’s or Double Six. My first mug of tea was a little insipid, but they left the teabag in on request for the second one.

New Goodfare, Parkway, NW1

January 5, 2009

First visited: Thursday 1st January 2009, last visited Sunday 29th March 09

Apparently owned by the same people as Bistro Laz, the website has the same annoying music feature you can’t turn off.

Interi0r:

Traditional sandwich bar with pasta dinner capabilities. The Goodfare has a jolly atmosphere with tables snuggled together  and Italian-themed paintings.  Service did its best in busy circumstances. A nearby customer commented on the waiter that ‘he’s always so rude’, but I didn’t notice anything – rather he engaged in banter, but perhaps this was at the customers’ expense. An off-putting feature was the predominance of young well-groomed professionals, but perhaps there’s more of a mix on a Monday at 8am.

Food:

In a fit of new year austerity I had the Spanish Omelette with salad, which was perfectly pleasant as an omelette but with no discernible Spanish theme. The salad was great, an Italian-themed one with an olive oil cruet supplied, rather than a traditionally English one. On other tables I spotted lovely dishes of pasta and generous breakfasts.

Mediterraneao, Camden High Street

November 3, 2008

First Visited: Sunday November 2nd 2008, last visited Saturday 15th November 2008

Interior: A modern classic: lots of floor space filled with plastic tables and chairs, tiled walls and shiny laminated menus with lots of colour pictures of food. Mediterraneao is also something of a hybrid as it offers a full sandwich menu as well as the breakfasts and hot meals typical of the genre. I wonder how the sandwich queue snaking out the door works on a busy weekday when the tables are all full of people eating omelettes and chips? On a Sunday lunchtime this was no problem however and service was fast and friendly.

Food: I had 2 brown toast with baked beans and mushrooms. The mushrooms were freshly cooked on the charcoal grill and very tasty indeed. The beans exactly what you’d expect. Tea came in a mug and was a trifle milky for my tastes but had the good tannic flavour nevertheless.

Cafe Grill, Camden High Street, London NW1

August 27, 2008

Date visited: 26th August 2008

Interior: This used to be Cafe Crescent, and has sadly lost most of its charm in its refurb – no more theatre flyers and checked table cloths. Just wooden tables (better than metal) and the odd bit of corporate art. Also seems to have had a rehire as well – staff were affable but simply couldn’t cope with the lunchtime rush and for whatever, reason, the orders rarely seemed to match what was offered either.

Food: It’s very, very difficult to order anything that’s not just protein (and fat). In a moment of madness I ordered the mediterranean breakfast number 2, which was bacon, eggs and mushrooms, PLUS halloumi and loundza (cypriot sliced sausage). I had to ask for milk in my tea (because Earl Grey is herbal apparently) and despite ascertaining with the waiter that I definitely wanted brown toast (about 3 times) they still brought white toast. The egg, halloumi and loundza were all very nice but all too much salty, fatty protein (yes it is possible). The total absence of any vegetables on the sandwich menu (egg and halloummi, egg and bacon, egg and loundza and halloummi etc) indicated that the breakfasts did reflect the full contents of the kitchen.

Glad I went back but I won’t do so again.

A more positive review can be found here.

Royal Cafe, Royal College Street, London NW1

August 8, 2008

Visited Sunday 28th June 2009

Friendly, brightly-coloured traditional caff

Interior: A classic of the 1970s – tiled floor, bright red leatherette seats, order at the counter, only thing missing was the clouds of cigarette smoke. Friendly welcome.

Food: Good quality classic fare – I had the veg breakfast, which was enormous, fresh and tasty – tomatoes were fresh and the hash browns didn’t have that ‘sitting around in old fat’ taste they sometimes get. Requisite saturated-out feeling followed. Tea was in a mug and I had two of them.

Eco Cafe, Camden High Street

June 25, 2008

Organic caff in Camden at last!

Visited: Saturday 21st June 2008

Interior: Sadly starbucksy, leather sofas, wooden tables and the crockery was just silly.

Food: Can’t fault the ingredients, but please, hot water gets poured over the teabag! and putting a rather undersized cooked breakfast on an oblong plate only draws attention to it. The waitress was pleasant but got a lot of things wrong. Mind you, when I asked her about the teabag she said that’s they’d been told to do so her life can’t be much fun.

Cafe Crescent, Camden High St, NW1

May 16, 2008

NOW CLOSED

Visited: Friday 16th May 2008

Friendly caff with very loud classic FM, visited on the day it’s closing for refurbishment

Appearance: Like a 1970s idea of a Parisian bistro. Wooden floors, tables and chairs, red and white checked plastic table covers and lots of theatre flyers on the walls. I loved it! Classic FM was very loud, a bit too much even for me, but it had the feel of being a Camden institution.

Food: Very nice mushrooms and fine grilled tomatoes, on really quite nice seeded bread, spoiled by the copious use of margarine instead of butter (but maybe they thought I was a vegan). Attractive mug of tea.

I visited this caff a matter of hours before they take their last order before closing. The manager says the new owners will be doing ‘the same thing really’ with the caff, but the fact they’re closing for refurbishment for 2 weeks doesn’t bode well.

Victory Cafe, Eversholt St

July 6, 2007

First Visited: Friday 7th July 2007
Last visited: Saturday 14th February 2009

**UPDATE**
The Victory is still the preserve of grumpy blokes, but I can’t deny they do a cracking Veggie Breakfast. Lovely mushrooms this time, hash browns, tomatoes, an egg and chips. They make it all look so easy!

I felt I should visit this having previously patronised the Double Six a few doors away. Very blokey atmosphere, even by London caffs standards. Unusually, French-run, slightly grumpily.

Interior: Very traditional tiles and booths interior. It’s the first time I’ve been in a caff since the smoking ban and the difference is extraordinary. I’m much more aware of the cafe’s appearance when I’m not absorbing acrid smoke smells or seeing it through a cloud. This is something of a cut out and keep traditional caff, but none the worse for that.

Food: I had 2 slices granary toast, grilled tomato (fresh not tinned), two poached eggs and beans, plus a mug of tea. They had no mushrooms. I was impressed with the eggs, which were just the right consistency although disappointed in the absence of mushrooms and by the fact that the toast tasted a bit margeriney. But a nice mug of orange tea was just what the doctor ordered.

Overall, I liked it but preferred Double Six. Not sure why.