I’m from up north where we do large portions, so I was a little wary of Reynolds, which describes itself as a small-portion cafe with a grazing menu. I like to graze and pick, but I’m also aware that many places use this to charge more for less. Which way would Reynolds go? With a tag line of ‘Great coffee, fresh food, nice people’ they had a lot to live up to.
Coffee – 3/5
Despite going to the effort to serve Union Hand Roasted coffee (one of my favourite London roasters), they’ve decided to serve it in the Italian-style. Or, they haven’t trained up their baristas yet. Either way, the coffee has a loose foam and watery texture instead of the creamy, deep flavours I’ve come to expect from Union. It’s just a matter of fine tuning, as temperature was right as was portion size and price (£2.85).
Atmosphere – 5/5
Reynolds has a really nice atmosphere and they live up to the ‘nice people’ part of their slogan. It’s a big area out the back with mix and match tables and chairs, a subtle grey/green paint scheme and walls decorated in various textures from old pieces of food crates to pages from Campaign magazine. They’ve also got a few seats out front. Nicely done.
Food – 3/4
While the portions were small, they weren’t too small. For lunch you could manage with two items and come away pretty happy. I went for the chicken wrap and tart. While they were good (and yes, fresh), they weren’t great. They had the feel of a good chain not a good artisan cafe. Price wise, it was just under £2 for the wrap (half a wrap really) and around £3 for the tart, so all-in-all good value.
Service – 3/3
Friendly and attentive. Although they mixed up my order they quickly changed it without fuss. Score on the ‘nice people’.
Extras – 1/3
Free wifi (which I struggled to connect to) and water were pretty much all that was on offer.
Summary – 15/20
A great place for lunch – you can pick and choose and mix up your choices without worrying about breaking the bank. The decor is cool and quirky without being overbearing. A few barista lessons and this place would be top notch.
53 Charlotte Street