Chinwag – Telephone box front door, 10 Downing Street loo, books as menus and taps as lights

Chinwag coffeeChinwag, 21 Lewisham Way, London.  SE14 6PP (opposite Goldsmith’s)

Saturday, 10.20 am

Flat white:  £1.95.  The cheapest flat white I’ve had in quite a long time.  However, it was more of a coffee with milk than a flat white.  It was ok and better than it looked but it won’t be the coffee that I return for.  6.5/10 for “a decent coffee” but 5.5 for “a flat white”.

Food:  The menu looks great, particularly where breakfasts and burgers are concerned.  It is also cheaper than I expected.

Clientele:  Largely studenty.  The day I went  was a Goldsmith’s open dayChinwag lighting and it was full of parents with their nervous-looking teenagers.

Lighting:  The first time I have even contemplated a section on the lighting.  But the creative lighting is a joy to behold and there’s more of it than is in my photo.  Go there, if only to admire the lighting.  For example, taps and wheels.

Decor:  As with the lighting, this alone is reason to visit Chinwag.  There is a lot of detail, from old newspapers under the glass table top of at least one table to a door covered with locks and handles.  And the 10 Downing Street toilet door.  It’s quirky, novel and makes for a really interesting and laid back environment.

Furniture:  Heavy on the mismatched, drawers that can be opened and rummaged through, all kinds of seats and tables and a telephone box front door.  Dreadful if you’re of the all-matching ilk but a joy if you like quirky vintage charm.

Staff:  The staff seem to be friendly and very pleasant.  Without sounding too shallow or gawpy though, I have never been somewhere that so many good looking people work.  It all adds to the general aesthetics and all-round loveliness of the café and is something of a treat.  In my defence, I have seen some similar comments on TripAdvisor!

Laptops, MacBooks, pushchairs:  0.  Odds of laptops and MacBooks being present is fairly high though, but I also like to think this is notebook and pen territory too, which I will look out for next time when I’m not as wrong footed by the unexpected amount of things/people to admire!

Beards:  I forgot to look, caught up in other more appealing distractions, but  I suspect quite a few, it being Goldsmith’s catchment.

Loo:  Behind 10 Downing Street.  Clean, large and pleasant.  Plenty to look at while waiting for anyone already in the loo, referring mainly to the lock and handle studded door.

WiFi:  I’m not sure, but as I’ll be returning soon I’ll update accordingly.

Summary:  The menus are stuck inside old books, taps are lights, everything feels interactive; the kind of place you wouldn’t mind waiting in for a delayed friend without the need to idly play with your mobile phone trying not to look pitiful and stood up.  Going by the menu, I have high hopes for the food, most of which is prepared in the open kitchen area.  It’s a lovely place to spend time, though I hope the barista skills improve.  Bonus that it’s also not over-priced.  This is the kind of place I would choose to go to for a comfort coffee and cake or meal.  8.5/10 but would be a bit more if the coffee were better.



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