Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's quite simple..

We were hunting round the reclamation yards of South East London yesterday and popped into the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre. The Elly Centre is not what you'd call state of the art and the range of shops is limited to say the least. But I have enjoyed those few trips I have made. There's a definite ambience about the place on a weekend morning. When R and I lived nearby we saw one of those editorial pieces promoting nearby shops and there was an article about the centre and it was what originally inspired us to go along. When we got there I found it chimed with some positive reports from a friend about interesting goings-on on the top floor.

So we were desperate for a nice coffee yesterday and there was nothing decent until we got to Waterloo-unless we stopped at the Elephant of course. We ended going to both the "it's quite simple: brilliant Coffee" outlet and the Colombian La Bodeguita cafe bar. Our first coffees had been so good, really good, but we had finished them before getting back in the car so needed another. It meant we could do a direct comparison between the two stalls.

Although it had the advantage of meeting a desperate need the first round of coffees, from "Brilliant Coffee" were a clear winner in my opinion. Mine was a medium caramel cappuchino -the froth must have been made from full cream Jersey milk and had a solidity to it that made taste like an impossibly delicate meringue. The chocolate topping was spot on.

La Bodeguita beats the Brilliant Coffee hands down on charm - the service point is like walking into Santa's grotto. You are immediately transported away from the grot that is Elephant. This is the place to come and chill out for a while - there's even a library if your Spanish is up to it. It's also about 50 pence cheaper for a similar round. The coffee is good - they do are decaff though R found the authentic bitter cocoa a bit of a surprise. The take-aways were served extremely hot so we were far away from shop before we finished them. The extra shot I had ordered seemed to be missing from my cappo (and from the price) and the two sugars were hiding down the bottom somewhere. The flavour was there, if a bit subtle, but the froth was half-hearted. A decent enough coffee though and probably not their speciality. I'll try the hot chocolate next time. But still a lovely place and definitely worth a visit if for some unknown reason you find yourself in the Elly. But if you're just after simply brilliant coffee to take away just read the sign.

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