I'm on a mission to explore all the coffee shops in Chiswick and environs. It's a mission which is going to take me to Richmond, Ealing, Acton, Brentford, Chiswick and beyond, in the search of the perfect cappuccino and the ultimate 'people watching' view.
Last weekend Chiswick Boy and I tried out the newish Verdict coffee shop and restaurant in Brentford, in the old court house, after a long, lovely and muddy walk in Boston Manor Park. This was a case of our forcing ourselves out of the house! As I blogged yesterday, we are firmly in January hiberation mode!
I have no photos because I forgot to bring my iphone charger plug – and as you probably know, the iphone only seems to keep its charge for about 10 minutes before running out! Ah – remember the days when you had a camera that never ran out of batteries, and you just had to wait until you finished the film, send it in an envelope with a cheque and wait for the photos to come back four weeks later… Life was simple then. If slow.
Verdict coffee shop – review
The damage: Cappuccino £2.50, Hot chocolate £2.50, Chocolate muffin about £1.50 I think… lost track a bit as I was foostering with change. (Do you say foostering? I think it's a family word of ours! My ipad is underlining it so I'm now doubting it exists outside of my wider family!).
Wifi: Yes – but couldn't test as I'd forgotten the proper plug for my phone, which was dead.
Plugs for low-battery: Great! Lots at the breakfast-bar type seating. Means it's definitely somewhere you could take your ipad or laptop and do some writing / social media-ing for a few hours.
Coffee rating – taste: 2/5 Checked when ordering that the small cappuccino had 2 shots of espresso. But when I got it, it tasted really weak. Took it back for an additional shot and it transpired they only put one shot in, which they said was standard. (The person who took my order had incorrectly thought two shots was standard.)
To their credit they gave me an extra shot without charging, and then it worked for me.
For my second cup I asked for a small coffee with an extra shot, but for some reason it came as a large coffee, so although it had two shots in was still weak for me.
The underlying quality of coffee is good I think – it's an Italian place so you'd expect it to be – just think need a bit more barista training for the staff. I should say, that as you may know I am really picky about my coffee.
Coffee rating – size: 2.5 The small coffee cups are just a little too small I think, but upsizing makes them too big for two shots. (Told you I'm fussy!)
Coffee rating – presentation: 2.5/5 The cups were a pretty blue colour.
Coffee rating – crema (that lovely foamy sludge you get on top that makes a coffee a coffee): 1.5/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5 For whatever reason, the atmosphere in here was really lovely. It had a steady stream of people – and while we there it filled up with families and prams.
I love the fact that there's this breakfast-bar style informal seating, as well as tables. There's lots of natural light, and it had a really pleasant buzz.
I'm not sure why but it reminds me of some of the cafes I used to go into in Yorkshire. Actually I think I do know why. In Yorkshire, when you're in a good cafe there's a bit of shared kinship – you're all in the know, you've found a decent coffee shop (Yorkshire towns are spread out and great cappuccinos are hard to find.)
In the same way, there aren't that many cafes in Brentford. Although with the regeneration I imagine more and more will be cropping up. But at the moment there's that shared sense of excitement at having somewhere new to go.
think that's why there were quite a few prams in there. You know what it's like when you're a new mother, desperately looking for new cafes to go into with your baby, to get out the house. Hmmm… or am I reading too much into it?
Music: 5/5 Toe-tapping bluegrass… I loved the music. I'm pretty sure it was actually the radio. And normally I hate radios playing in cafes but this was fantastic. No idea what the station was, but perfect accompaniment to coffee and newspapers on a drizzly weekend afternoon.
Reading matter: 0.5/5 Half a mark is for the Waterman's brochures – up to date ones too! However be warned – last time I reviewed a coffee shop and said there were no papers, the owners politely contacted me to say thanks for the review but I must have missed the stash of papers AND books. So it's with caution that I say there are no papers, in case I missed a stack!
Anyway, I was nose deep in the Saturday Times, one of my favourite bits of the weekend. And Chiswick Boy was devouring the latest copy of Toxic. Weekend papers and comics are an indulgence that I can't live without. I'm addicted to the Saturday Times.
Staff friendliness: 2.5 As I mentioned above, they were really courteous about putting an extra shot into my coffee, and the staff carry the coffee to your table for you. I had the sense that they were flustered. While I ordered my second coffee the server had to break off to discuss whether to close the kitchen or not (I think). It's made stranger by the fact that there's quite a large counter between the customer and the till / ordering point/ coffee machine, so a little alienating.
In summary – a really lovely place to hole up on a Saturday afternoon with the weekend papers / comics. I'd like to check out the breakfast too – they do eggs florentine which is one of my favourites. We'll definitely be back.
Please note: I do my Friday coffee time visits incognito, I don't introduce myself and I pay for everything myself.
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