Cheeky Coffee: Café Renoir, Kentish Town Road

We couldn’t believe it’s been nearly a year since we swung by a revamped Café Renoir to sample their coffee. …

We couldn’t believe it’s been nearly a year since we swung by a revamped Café Renoir to sample their coffee. And yesterday their sunny terrace simply beckoned a sit down for a morning moment, so we tied up the dog and grabbed a couple of comfy seats from which to conduct the now notorious Cheeky Coffee test.

We plumped for double expressos (£2.20). Execution and beans were – we’re happy to report – pretty much faultless. Velvety smooth, caramelly flavours, a tangy nuttiness. Accompanying tap water came iced with lemon slices. The knowledgable waitress was well primed to inform on the Arabica/Robusta blend (85/15 she believed); on further enquiries she explained that the roast comes from ‘the man with the van by the station’ (aka trusty old Bean About Town), keeping local café standards pleasingly high yet again.

Inside was busy with pre-work types, the kitch painted art still adorning walls of now more sober colours, airy front windows open on a bright summer’s day. Despite all that hurried traffic on the high street, it’s the terrace, screened by strategic topiary, that remains our coffee spot of choice though.

The view of The Old Farm House building over the road proved our talking point. How majestic it could look with a bit of TLC to the historic brickwork: that gothic detailing, the clear building date (1885) – and the badly ageing O’Reilly’s frontage below. We know many of you defend the survival of this unreconstructed boozer (which itself only dates back to 2001), but come on, would someone at least clean the bloody windows?

Sorry. Carried away there. Back to Renoir: food, anyone? Lacklustre before their ‘healthy choice’ rebranding, we realised we’ve still not given the new evening menu a go yet. We sort-of-don’t-dare, despite the presence of seabass and creamed spinach (a Mrs Kentishtowner all-time favourite).

But someone out there must have, right? So are the crepes and omelettes any different now the area’s French population has positively champignon’ed due to the College Francais Bilingue de Londres on Holmes Road?

Coffee gets the thumbs up anyway. Onwards.

244 Kentish Town Road.


  • Show Comments

  • Alison

    I have been a Renoir regular since my daughter was a baby. I reckon the coffee is the best in KT but what keeps me going back is the friendly service. They are always willing to sort out what their smaller customers need whether it’s an off menu breakfast or some paper for drawing. I also think their full English is top notch. From the evening menu I’ve enjoyed the poached salmon and the homemade cakes though some of the more ambitious mains were less successful. Costa’s presence over the road has had an impact on Renoir and I think we should support our non- chain cafes!

  • Sophie

    Can’t say I was impressed by breakfast.
    Bread was cheap sliced, scrambled eggs appeared microwaved, fried eggs over cooked.
    Hot chocolate overly sweet. Cheaper than Kentish Canteen but not nearly as tasty. Service was good though.

  • Kentishtowner

    Two very contrasting views. Microwaved eggs: bleeeuuuurgh!

  • Martin

    Totally agree about O’Reilly’s. What a scruffy joint

  • SV

    i can definately say the eggs are not microwaved ! support the renoir – use it or lose it! stop kentish town road becoming abother chiswick high road full mindless faceless useless chains

  • tryandseeitmyway

    Well, I have been visiting the Renoir for a month, or less, but can confirm that a) not only are the eggs not microwaved but they will cook them how you like b) the tea is excellent but only from a pot c) Club sandwiches are more than fair d) agree about the toast with English breakfast not great and the service which generally is

  • george

    I go to renoir regularly and i am very happy indeed with my food , especially their breakfast is exeptionally good and is always cooked to an amazing standard. Their prices are also reasonable and worthwhile for the service, all staff are very friendly and helpful.