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.