This is a great, if slightly chaotic, cafe housed in the wonderful Surrey Docks Farm which is situated smack bang across the river from Canary Wharf.
We turned up here at 12 noon sharp on our Saturday stroll along the Thames Path from Greenwich to Borough Market and we were lucky to grab the last available table. It's a small little room which probably fits in about 25 at a squeeze but there is plenty of outside seating if you are wrapped up well and don't mind the cold at this time of year.
Like its sibling establishment North of the river this cafe has been influenced by the "agrituirsmo" movement. Expect fresh local produce, home style cooking and a rustic vibe. A multitude of old school tables and chairs, well-worn menus, daily specials chalked up on the blackboard and service from the young laid back staff who are very easy on the eye make this a great stop on your way into town.
However, being situated in the middle of the Surrey Docks urban farm with its pigs, goats and other wildlife means that it also a magnet for hordes of buggies, babies and the obligatory middle class parents. Normally these folk are well enough behaved but you may find the outside area quite appealing after 5 minutes with a little darling screaming in your ear.
The food here is excellent and I tucked into a lovely plate of perfectly cooked penne with a tasty slow cooked beef ragu, a delicate but deft use of cheese and herbs made this dish a real pleasure to savour. B had the pasta with pesto, goats cheese and a selection of roast vegetables which was also pretty good but suffered from the addition of over salted olives. The roast swede soup was so much better than it sounded, great depth of flavour and when combined with some bread was a meal in itself.
The coffee here is also good. I had a couple of Americano’s which went down well and I have had a very good latte on a previous visit. B is a big fan of the non-alcoholic hot toddy and I must admit I kick myself every time I don't order one.
The prices are excellent, in fact they border on the cheap, given the quality of the produce and the skilful cooking. Service is friendly if a little flaky; this is not a place to go if you are in a hurry or you have a great sense of your own importance.
I would recommend a stroll along the Thames purely to have a good lunch at this lovely cafe - in my book that's praise indeed.
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