Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Froth without Bites (hopefully)

Went to look at Daily 5 the beginning of last week. R had told me there was a cappuccino bar in Lakedale Road. I had been up there to find it without luck which is quite a hard thing to do given the limited amount of shops there. It was the very last outlet on the left when heading towards the hill. The shop was empty apart from a man preparing food behind the counter. He said they had been open three months which surprised me and I said how the need for a coffee bar was often mentioned round here. A few pastries were on display above the glass case containing the sandwich ingredients. Some mini Red Bull Energy Boost bottles were also on the counter - perhaps some assumption about the popularity of coffee was being made here? The interior was clean and bright with two sets of metal tables and chairs getting wet on the pavement outside.

I ordered a cappuccino which I took without sugar but with chocolate and a latticed pecan pastry. It came to the grand total of £1.50. "A special promotion" the man said. It was all "to go" and I stepped outside to take a photo. An unleashed and unattended Rottweiler was strolling up Lakedale Road like they do and it paused to sniff my coffee before strolling into the cafe. It's rear end can be seen disappearing inside in the first of my photos above.
I set off to the station wondering if the man was aware of his new customer. When I was a bit further away I started wondering if he was still alive.

The coffee was disappointing with only the mildest hint of coffee flavour - it almost took an act of concentration to notice it far beneath the watery surface. By the time I had got past the Post Office the froth had all but disappeared leaving just a thin film. I decided to do a compare and contrast with Caffe Nero's offering at London Bridge which was on my way. When I got there I was surprised to find how lacking in flavour that was too. I had unbalanced things a bit by asking for a dash of cinnamon as well as chocolate at CN so it wasn't a true like for like comparison. I had however avoided sugar to start with to match my Plumstead brew - though I did sugar it when I was half way through and by this stage the coffee flavour really seemed to be stronger than my initial tastings. The froth of the CN was miles ahead of of the Daily 5's effort. It looked like it would never deflate - the choc and cinnamon powders sat neatly on top of the foam and added to the filtering effect. The chocolate with the Daily 5 went practically unnoticed - it just adhered to the bottom of the lid. If you took the lid off all the chocolate would be on the lid with none on the foam. And another thing, the first thing I noticed with the London Bridge drink was that it was HOT. Was this because I didn't have a sleeve on the cup - or does CN's coffee machine kick out more steam?

The pecan thing from Daily 5 tasted like a sausage roll that had been hastily converted into a danish -a tang of animal fat struck my tastebuds with gusto. It was not too bad after the first few bites though and it filled a hole but was a rather stolid experience. Still the combined price wasn't to be sniffed at. Or woofed at. So I'll score it two out of five - after all it is trying to be something that some people are very keen on having. I certainly want to see more espresso machines in action round here and not necessarily manned by mass-produced baristas. On the other hand I am not in a mad rush to get back there for more.

It deserves a bit of support though and a second chance so I aim to test out their double espresso - there is no hiding with an espresso. That will have to taste of something. My half-empty-bottle mentality means I suspect it might bear more resemblance to the distilled essence of a Turkish wrestlers post-bout battle trunks than to the humble, vivacious and not-too-difficult-to-use coffee bean. Let's hope not.