Qype: Cafe Fresco in London
There’s a tendency in this country for quite mediocre businesses to survive or even flourish based on their proximity to large groups of lazy people. There’s the Station-to-Pub-Proximity-Rule to illustrate this (in that by and large the quality of a pub will be inversely proportional to its distance from a train station), and then there’s the fact that a sizeable part of any office population will quite happily go to the pub or sandwich bar nearest to the office because… well… it’s the nearest.
So, with that introduction: Cafe Fresco.
It’s not that it’s *bad* overall… it’s just not that good.
They do a range of sandwiches and ciabattas, with the available fillings on display in the glass-fronted counter-cabinet. Some are quite tasty, some bland, and others probably lovely but visually sinister (the Mexican Tuna mix takes on a disturbing crusty look as time marches towards 2pm).
There’s a daily rotation of hot food – lasagna, bacon pasta, curry, linguine carbonara – most of it underwhelming (or in the case of the carbonara, leaving you with a bloated hangover and a wish that you’d ordered a small one).
But by far the insider tip is Don’t Drink The Coffee.
I’ve no idea what they do to it, or where they get their beans from, but you’d probably feel more fulfilled having mixed up a Nescafe. Seriously.
The impression this reviewer gets is that there’s a fairly vast amount of cost cutting going on here – the coffee loyalty cards (if you can stomach 6 of those eldritch brews you’re rewarded with a free one) are peppered with grammatical and logical errors, and the serviettes came cheerily printed with “Bom Apetite” (sic) – although how they got the ink to stick to them I’ll never understand, because they seem totally impervious to food particles.
But on the upside they are very friendly in there, and if your motive for grabbing a morning coffee is less about what you’re ingesting and more about a fleeting moment of familiar human contact before shuffling off into one of the nearby office blocks, then you definitely can’t fault the place.