Has Shoreditch become the area it always wanted to be with its funky bars, numerous cafes and pop-up shopping mall, or is it moving away from its centre for struggling but exciting artists? I guess it depends on who you are. And while its lack of greenery, 60s tower block aesthetic and moneyed hipster fashion is really not my cup of tea – I, for one, quite like that fact that you don’t have to scour every little side street and try every door to find a bar or café. What I don’t enjoy so much is that most of the new venues opening have that ready-made chain feel to them. Lots of hip branding, a perfectly quirky menu and the fashionable but adaptable décor. The street where this is most obvious is Redchurch Street, where I found Maison Trois Garcon, itself part of a mini chain.
Coffee – 3/5
This is a French-style cappuccino – short and strong. But while in France, especially near the Italian border, the coffee would be tasty and super-powered, here it was a little bland. The first taste was chocolate. This was mainly due to the vast amount of the stuff dusted on top. With a small cappuccino like this, adding a thick layer of chocolate pretty much transforms it from a cappuccino into a mocha. Still, once I got through the sweet topping, it had a strong kick to it and wasn’t over priced.
Atmosphere – 4/5
I actually quite liked it in here. Tucked inside the shop, the café is light and airy and has a few nice design touches. Yes, it has the bare brick/bare wood walls, but touches like the tile topped tables, balloon lights and huge glowing Wizard of Oz sign gave it a slightly surreal feel. It’s not a comfortable café but as far as shop cafes go, it’s one of the most interesting I’ve seen.
Food – 3/4
A good selection of hot dishes including Lasagne and Meatballs along with sandwiches, salads, baked goods and an afternoon tea service. It is a small but perfectly formed offering.
Service – 3/3
No complaints here. Fast and efficient. Table service is available or you can just go up and place your order and pay at the till. Either way seemed to work – which may sound like a simple thing to accomplish but you’d be surprised by how many cafes can’t manage this.
Extras – 2/3
While strictly speaking you could argue that the café is an extra to the shop, as I’m coming from the coffee-based point of view I’m viewing the shop as an extra. It’s full of interesting items and you can almost browse from your seat.
Summary – 15/20
While not outstanding as a café, it has enough quirks and character to make it worth a visit. And it makes a change from the usual super hip cafes in the area.
45 Redchurch street
Tel: 0203 370 7761