Scooter Café – Fab café, cute cat, unforgivably awful coffee

Scooter Cafe flat whiteScooter Cafe, 132 Lower Marsh, near Waterloo station, London.  SE1 7AE

Tuesday, 9.15am

Flat White:  £2.60.  I tried everything possible to rate this at least a 6 because I love the café itself, but I had to cross the 6 out by the third foul sip and downgrade to a 5.  It now stands at 4 but should probably be lower than that.  One of the most disappointing coffee experiences of late.  Bitter, burnt, rubbery, scowl-inducing and truly horrible.  I was with Mr G, who also wanted to love the place, and he was able to rate it a bit higher, though fully recognising he had a cold and his tastebuds were shot.  I did catch him grimacing though and his “Oh, it’s not that bad” protestations waned as he neared the end of his coffee.   4/10

Beards, laptops, MacBooks:  0, but potential for beards and laptops in particular.

Pushchairs:  1, the owner’s, but plenty of room for more.

Scooter helmets:  More than I could count (purely decorative helmets on display) and one handbag-style ready to go.

Water:  Help yourself bottle of chilled water with orange slices (a flavoured water revelation; just as well in light of the swilling required to dissipate the all-consuming rubbery/burnt/dirty coffee aftertaste)Scooter Cafe cat

Cat:  1.  Delightfully strokeable and very much at home – well, the cafe area is clearly what he considers his lounge as his cat flap goes from home to cafe within the same building.

Interior:  Very haphazard, mismatched, vintage, scooter themed and with small collections of things, eg helmets and coffee pots.  I love it, it’s very relaxed and informal.  There are also lots of different kinds of seats.  We opted for two comfy chairs that had seen better days and weren’t as robust as they would once have been (ie a no-no on the bounce front) but which added to the overall experience of the place.

How to fit in:  Carry a motorcycle helmet, be a bit scruffy, love cats and wear casual verging on alternative attire.

China:  Appears to be simple, matching and white, though I expected mismatched vintage.

Toilets:  Down an unconventional staircase.

Outdoor area:  Pleasant decked area looking across to Waterloo train station.

Summary:  I will never try a coffee there again (I have before, almost two years ago, and that was also awful too), but it’s open in the evenings and there are jazz nights.  I would enjoy being in that kind of environment for alcohol and live music, or just the alcohol.  Don’t be fooled by the quirkiness of the decor and all the signs that good coffee will be served.  As a non-coffee review, I’d give it 8.5/10.  As a coffee and café review, 5/10, but not having just tried to consume all the coffee, ie with the passing of time and refreshing of tastebuds, the cat and the environment could boost it a few points.  But, no, no, no, not the coffee.

(Bagpuss)

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