signage, Smithfield EC1
Harp [Uxbridge Rd W12] NEW
Altogether perkier than the Vukelic,
this is a voyage back to normality. Actual customers lolling
about and a decent plain interior make this yet another suitable
addition to the formica legions that seem to flourish round Shepherd
Bush. The massive development plan for the Green however almost
certainly means all of these dives are under threat.
Rosa's [Westbourne Pk
Pleasant small cafe with two burgundy
banquette seats, panelled interior, blonde pine formica tables
and trestle style chairs. Walls lined with old Italian tourist
posters - in a very pleasant street near The Cow pub.
Marie's Cafe [Lower
V. good tiny pre-war cafe. Great tables. Great early 20thC int.
Also Thai menu!
Perdonni's [Oval Tube
Brilliant preserved int. - ext
ruined in tube refit - fears for int.
Butties Coffee Lounge
[Nr. East Croydon train station] RIP 2000
Amazing ext. sign and 70s "Bedazzled"
int. "Synthetic-exotic" look. Worth the journey. "Went
to visit this cafe in Croydon today and it wasn't there. A security
guard at Suffolk house told me it had closed about 3 years ago.
It became a tapas bar which has also since closed. Another one
bites the dust." (Alan Maddock Feb 2003)
Pickles Cafe [nr Sumner
St SE1 - close to Tate Modern]
Cracking little find. Good tables
and generally dingy interior with unobjectionable modern chairs.
The area is full of old warehouses and office blocks giving it
a lost prototype-docklands feel. The pub next door looks especially
New Grosvenor Cafe [Horseferry
A few doors up from the magnificent Fiesta, this has - again
- a brilliant sign in Gill typeface with great red leatherette
seating and classic tables. Some of the other chairs are modern
but quite well suited. Good counter too, but The Italian Restaurant
in Rochester Row and neighbouring Fiesta are the real jewels
in the crown of forgotten Victoria.
San Siro [Parliament
Good, old and rundown. Fair int.
In terminal decline for decades.
Daquise [South Ken tube]
Old 60s Polish restaurant with
troubled waitresses and good interior. Not really a cafe but
with a unique refugee atmosphere.
Good Italian - good seats. Dumb waiter. Excellent specialist
chips. Quite near the legendary Market Cafe in Fournier St, beloved
of Gilbert and George.
Golden Hind [Marylebone
Excellent fish and chip cafe. Good
int. Irregular hours.
Frank's [Addison Bridge
Place Olympia W8]
Uniquely situated above a railway line, this is a superb old
US diner-style place with crumbling interior, single stool seating
and a picturesque deco counter area. It's actually built out
of an old abandoned signal box. Along with the Snack Bar in Brooks
Mews, this is one of the only surviving London cafes to be listed
in Jonathan Routh's The Good Cuppa Guide of 1966.
Large and airy. Good int. Interesting
decor. Worth a visit.
Modern Cafe [Kings Cross by Scala] RIP 2001
The Modern Cafe had the bad
luck of being in one of the most disgusting crack-zones in the
capital - right by the Scala nightclub/cinema/venue. You could
watch in horror as the pavement outside swarmed with zombie-like
pimps marching their drugged, drooling charges up and down the
streets. These horrific scenes were utterly at odds with the
haven of leatherette inside the Modern; a winning little leftover
from better days when the place must have been rammed with civilised
commuters. Looked at from outside, your first impulse is to flee
as fast as possible. But nip inside and indulge your most feral
Travis Bickle fantasies about washing away the scum outside...
over a soothing bacon sandwich, of course. Hard rain's gonna
Serafino [Mount St W1] RIP
More a restaurant but great dark
booth/lounge interior - "forgotten Mayfair" feel. Magnificent
sign. One of the few places in London to approach an LA style
synthesis. Again, not a proper cafe but contains key elements
that make it a close relative.
Starburger [King St
V. good Bedazzled 70s. Awful ext.
but interesting int.
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A Classic Cafes Miscellany
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