Having returned to my place of work for further training, it wasn’t until I arrived that I realised I had set off far too early. I could, in fact, have had another hour in bed. Those that know me, know how precious sleep is to me, and will therefore understand how unimpressed I was at the situation. As such, I felt the need to treat myself, and made a beeline for a café across the road I’ve been eyeing for some time now: Café Latino, Mi Cocina Es Tuya.
It’s small, sweet, clean and decorated with (I presume) Venezuelan or at least Spanish bits and pieces. It’s clearly family run, and as soon as I entered I was shown my seat and handed a menu as well as a taster of their passion fruit smoothie. 2 minutes later the chap was back, and I ordered a ‘Latino breakfast’ (chorizo, fried eggs, cornbread and beans) and a mango juice. He was very friendly and handed me that day’s newspaper to peruse at my leisure – and who doesn’t love a good leisurely perusing.
You could see part of the kitchen, and smell the order being cooked. My drink arrived first, followed by the food – the cornbread had a smily face on it, my breakfast was almost as happy to see me as I was to see it! The chorizo was home made and delicious, the eggs weren’t overdone (a surprisingly regular occurrence when buying breakfast) and I was offered salsa verde and chilli as accompaniment. The beans reminded me of Costa Rica, where rice and beans were present at every meal (literally. Every meal.)
When I was finished, I still had 2 hours to kill before going to work, however I never felt rushed. When I asked for a glass of water I was brought it with a smile, and when they found out I could speak (some) Spanish I was offered a Spanish newspaper to read and told I should come in more often to practise.
After a while, temptation did overcome me and I ordered the churros. It was a bit of a feast and I loved every minute of it.
The prices were not dirt cheap, but they were not unreasonable and I didn’t feel ripped off. For everything I paid £14.
So yes, I would recommend this place. I don’t know if the cuisine is Venezuelan itself, but it was delicious and the people who run the cafe are friendly and accommodating (and patient should you want to practise your Spanish!) Muy bien – see, I’m practically fluent already.
If there’s one thing I love to do in London, its visit the coffee shops. The independent roasteries, the little off-the-beaten track nooks, anywhere that isn’t Starbucks, Costa or Caffe Nero, basically. Somewhere a bit different.
Now, I wouldn’t say Cafe Joy was necessarily worth heading all the way out to Roehampton for especially, but if you’re ever around Wimbledon Common, or Richmond Park, its pretty close by and easy enough to pop into on the way to Barnes station or Hammersmith. I just happen to pop in after my lecture for a sandwich and a coffee, and my, what an artistically layered coffee it was.
Look at it! LOOK.
I ordered a ham and cheese panini thing; the sandwich was hot and on ciabatta bread, if a little plain, but at £2.99 the price already undercut any of the big chains. There’s table service, which is unusual in most cafes but its nice not to lurk around awkwardly for 5 minutes whilst the stressed barista gets increasingly stressed by you being forced to hang over them.
There are big old bags of coffee on display and the man is pretty friendly. Essentially, a nice place to stop off for a snack or a light lunch, or indeed just a hot drink if you’re being sophisticado or just feeling a bit chilly. Even the drinks themselves are quite cheap, with my latte clocking in at only £1.99.
Now I’m off for a midnight snack, in the hope that eating will make me sleepy. Venturing into central tomorrow night; a rare occurrence for me. Some would say an adventure. Most wouldn’t.