Some cafes have a background theme, such as circus or cardigans. These are displayed through nice little touches here and there or in a name. Rapha Cycle Club, as the name suggests, also has a theme – but this is not in the background, this is very much in the forefront. In fact, you could say the cafe is in the background, as this is a cycle shop that also happens to have an excellent cafe, and not the other way round.
Coffee – 4/5
The coffee here is excellent. In fact, taste wise it’s one of the best I’ve had. Fruity with background notes of chocolate, Rapha uses its own in-house coffee. Why not five stars? It’s not the small size. I can handle that, when it’s this good. But have we really reached the £3 a cup coffee? Is that where we’re at? I realise that we’re paying for quality, but a number of other top class cafes still offer a cup for under the £3 mark. My worry is that people will soon follow suit – that once this barrier is broken, it becomes acceptable for everyone.
Atmosphere – 4/5
This is full, in your face cycle heaven. One side is a shop – a proper shop – the other a cycle-themed cafe. The tables have cycling memorabilia in the tops and cycle magazines tucked down the side. There is a nice window seat that opens out into Soho along with a number of small table to sit around and consider buying a bike. While some cycle themed cafes are for casual, commuter cyclists, this is for hardcore, Tour De France cyclists.
Food – 2/4
Themed, as you’d imagine, on cycling. There is On The Bike snack food and Pre-Ride and Post-Ride dishes. However, the menu is pretty limited. I went for a sandwich, which itself was pretty tasty. However, I’ve got a theory about side-salads. They are representative of food in general. Every plate has a side salad, so if it’s good, then most food in the place will be good. The side salad here was pretty poor. Mainly it was supermarket salad with a couple of tomatoes and pickles thrown on top with little dressing. At £6 for a sandwich, I was expecting a decent salad.
Service – 3/3
Good service from well trained baristas. Everyone was chatty and friendly and the coffee came fast.
Extras – 3/3
If you’re a cycle fan, you’re in heaven. Not only do you have the shop around you, but also there are huge TV playing the latest races, information boards on races near by and much more.
Summary – 16/20
A great place for cyclists but, more importantly, an excellent cafe for non-cyclists as well. The ony negatives are that things are a little on the expensive side.
85 Brewer Street,