Four Corners Café – model aeroplanes, potential for free coffee and a knackered backpacker

FourCorners coffeeFour Corners Café, 12 Lower Marsh, near Waterloo station, London.  SE1 7RJ

Tuesday, 8.50 am

Flat White:  £2.50.  They won an award for best coffee shop in the UK so I had high hopes.  It looked good … but tasted merely ok.  None of the baristas in the award ceremony photos were serving the morning I was there, so I’d hope that they’d up the standard, but this was disappointing and not quite a destination coffee at 7.5/10.

Food:  Almond croissant £2.  A “quite good” croissant, lacking the amount of almondy marzipanny stodge I like in an almond croissant (‘cos I’m such a croissant connoisseur?!) – good if you like your almond croissants a bit lighter though.  The usual pastries and cakes were available.  If you want more info on food, look at their website – a slick website with info on food, etc.

China:  Seems to all be white, though it bothered me that both my plate and cup and saucer didn’t have the properly clean gleam I would expect from a café’s china.

FourCorners booksInterior:  Travel themed and the more your eyes wander, the more details and features you see.  Why have I never been to a travel café before; I like the concept a lot.  There was even a silver model aeroplane and a globe that opened out into a display cabinet.  Furniture mismatched but somehow a bit too contrived and excessively shabby chic.  I’ve been to a café in New Cross with an airline theme and they had old plane seats, which were ridiculously exciting and appropriate, though the less said about the coffee the better.  I would have added at least an extra point for plane or train seats in this café.

Books:  If you bring in an old Rough Guide, Lonely Planet (or a few others, as they specify), you can add it to their collection and get a free coffee.  Mr G, who I live with, has some very old Rough Guides and Lonely Planets, which he is adamant he can’t be parted from.  I am seeing this as a fortnight of free coffees …

Beards, pushchairs, laptops:  0 but potential for all.

MacBook:  1, with potential for more.

Toilet:  More clean than the crockery.  Functional and pleasant.

WiFi:  I didn’t notice any but if there had been, I like to think the password would have been an exciting destination or the flight number of somewhere exotic.

How to fit in:  Be a cool traveller type, ideally a solo traveller, though more four star than backpacker hostel.  I’d been out and about since 5am the morning I was there (not normal) and I definitely felt of the knackered backpacker ilk; I don’t carry my tiredness well.

Music:  Pleasant, kind of trendy world music.  Sort of.

NOPUF:  Agggghhhh.  So wrong, so unnecessary and so unbelievably offensive.

Summary:  I will go again, optimistic the coffee will be at least an 8 next time, and I would also hope the staff would be more welcoming.  As a concept, it’s great.  Somehow, it wasn’t quite right though, but I’m prepared to give everything the benefit of doubt as I really was struggling with the earliness of my departure from bed and into the autumnal dampness of a dark morning.  I also found it disappointing that they appear to have won awards for the coffee yet I couldn’t bring myself to rate it a destination 8 or more.  It has so much potential, I just hope it gets there in the end.  The decor is interesting, a 9, the coffee not up to expectations, the staff that morning not particularly friendly, the atmosphere not right, so only 7/10.



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