Walking the canal alongside Regents Park from Camden to Little Venice is one of London’s great hidden gems. I didn’t discover it until after my first year here and now I’ve done the walk a number of times. However, one thing the walk is lacking is any stopping points. No cafes, restaurants or food stalls until you actually reach the end. There is, however, a brilliantly situated café just before then, perched above the canal. Just north of Paddington and south of Maida Vale is Café Laville.
Coffee – 3/5
While I wasn’t expecting much for what is verging on a tourist café, the cappuccino here was strong if a little bland. It did have a bit of a nutty taste, but I’m not sure too much thought had gone into the preparation or selection of this coffee. Still, a good size, reasonable price and better than expected for the location.
Atmosphere – 5/5
Yes, it’s stuck essentially in the middle of a major road junction. Yes, the inside is pretty uninspiring with a 90s Italian restaurant feel. And yes, it could probably do with a fresh lick of paint. But…it is without a doubt one of the best positioned cafes in London. Hovering over the canal, it offers views from its patio down the beautiful waterway to Little Venice. In the summer, this is the place to be. Even the roads down both sides are lined with large trees and stunning buildings. Forget about the noisy road, the bland interior and just focus on the gentle ‘put-put’ of the canal boats as they emerge, like magic, from underneath your feet.
Food – 2/4
A fairly extensive Italian inspired menu, the food looked good but had that ‘English-Italian’ fusion feel to it, with plates of pasta served with a side of chips. However, the burgers looked large, homemade and tasty and the specials reasonably interesting. There were one or two cakes at the front, but they seemed an after-thought.
Service – 1/3
Slow and uninvolved. It took a fair while to get the attention of the waitress who seemingly had better things to do.
Extras – 1/3
None really..oh, except for that stunning view. Gets a point for that but really wasn’t engaging with the community on any level.
Summary – 12/20
It’s all about the location here. Come on a hot day, grab a table out front and enjoy a fairly decent coffee while the world slides along below you.
453 Edgware Road,
Tel: 020 7706 2620