Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bottelino's, Bath

Overheard from the next table:


"Penne Arrabiata?"

"Yeah? What's that in English?"



"Penne Piccante?"

"Yeah. That's mine. I like my meat! Way-hey!"



"Got any ketchup?"



"Black pepper anyone?"

('Comedy' French accent) "Black pepperrr? Black pepperrr? Luverrly jubberrly!"


You don't stay for an espresso.

[originally posted back in 2005]

Adventure Cafe, Bath

You are here looking for breakfast. The Adventure Cafe pavement blackboard proudly boasts that it only uses Illy coffee, and that it was voted 12th Best (!) cafe in the country by The Independent. Your expectations are, therefore, high.

One of the waitresses greets you in a way that makes you think you've met her before. Wishful thinking perhaps. You think you recognise her tights... but then realise that's just because they're that diamond pattern that's so popular at the moment.

In fact, the three dark haired waitresses all look like they just got up, pulled on the nearest clothes (aren't skirts short these days?), bundled themselves off to work, and still managed to look fantastic. It's a bit distracting, to be honest.

Double espresso and a bagel, to start with. Double espresso nearly perfect. (Not quite enough cream cheese with the bagel - but it is served in a seperate little pot, so you can ladel it on yourself, which is As It Should Be). Good enough to risk ordering a simple black coffee next, as you settle back with the paper. Sure enough, it comes long and strong, not the Watery Piss that often passes for a lungo or americano in English cafes.

Time to leave. The tips jar has got a sign on it that reads 'Good Tippers Make Better Lovers'. You smile to yourself. It's only 11.30am and the jar is half full of quids already.

[originally posted back in 2005]

Cafe #9, Sheffield

You feel safe here. You know from experience that this is home to The Best Coffee In Town. There's no one behind the counter. The only other customer tells you that "he (the coffee maker, presumably) has just popped out". Strangers. Talking to each other. You survey the variety of tables and chairs available. Virgin newspapers laid out on the biggest table. They photocopy the crosswords here, so everyone can have a go. There's a dictionary in here, too, somewhere, nestling in amongst the chess and scrabble. You like it best when it's quiet here - but you want them to earn money, too, so they don't close. 

An hour later Cafe #9 is gratifyingly busy. The big tables mean sharing with other people. You pay when you leave. Continental. You can feel the caffeine barging round your system, like you're shivering inside, very, very fast.

[originally posted back in 2005]