The chalkboard outside Cafe Respiro promises “the best coffee in Notting Hill”. I was immediately intrigued to see if this claim was true. The bright blue painted cafe also moonlights as an Italian delicatessen and the walls are lined with packets of pasta and tins of tomatoes which gives a cosy feel to the place.
The coffee looks the goods, made with Guglielmo beans from Copanello in Italy, and the menu even lists a series of “special coffees” such as the Kate Moss, made with coffee, caramel syrup and soy milk and the Sienna made with barley coffee, cinnamon and milk. However, the barista burnt MTV boyfriend’s cappuccino, leaving it with a bitter aftertaste.
The blueberry milkshake was also disappointingly lacklustre. It did not have a rich, creamy flavour and was not really mixed properly when served.
While the coffee did not live up to it’s promise, the food we tried was excellent and very keenly priced. The menu features a selection of sandwiches, bruschettas and salads along with a couple of hot pasta dishes. The traditional bruschetta was generously sized, featuring three pieces of toasted bread topped with fresh tomato, basil and a slick of olive oil (£4.95).
I took one look at my huge peach and parma ham salad (£7.95) and my expectations for Cafe Respiro soared, and luckily the salad delivered in spades. Soft folds of parma ham were draped over wedges of fresh peach with the sharp taste of shards of parmesan topping off the sweet and salty combination.
It seems Cafe Respiro is worth a visit for the food rather than the drinks.
Details: 33 Kensington Park Rd, Notting Hill, W11 2EU (Ph 020 7727 5575) Tube: Notting Hill Gate
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve