|St David Coffee House, Forest Hill|
St David Coffee House in Forest Hill is my new favourite cafe. Okay, I say that most weeks - but this time, I really mean it. This charming, ramshackle little coffee shop is the perfect spot to duck into on a rainy Saturday after a trip to the nearby Horniman museum.
Like the nearby Browns of Brockley, St David Coffee House has a strong community feel to it. On one wall there's a book exchange, the shelves stuffed with modern fiction you actually want to read rather than ancient dust-gatherers. There's a record player by the till, which was whirring around with Motown and soul on our visit (rumour has it that regulars can bring in their own records to play), and the backs of the cafe's wooden church chairs are stuffed with old albums. Above the record player there's a row of locally-produced chutneys and jam. Work from local artists lines the wall, and there are handmade cards for sale. For reasons unknown, there's a small rocking horse stuck to another wall (securely, I hope). If it all sounds a bit twee and contrived, it's really not. Just very cosy and welcoming.
|Montgomery's Cheddar and spring onion toastie|
Happily, the food is as good as the room. The popular chorizo and pear sourdough sarnie was sadly sold out when we visited for lunch but we managed to nab the last Montgomery's Cheddar and spring onion toastie. If you've never tried Montgomery's Farmhouse Cheddar you might not think this an exciting order - but I couldn't pass up the chance for a frisbee-sized wedge of potent, nutty Montgomery's sandwiched between some sourdough. J seemed very happy with his smoked salmon, cucumber and dill sourdough sandwich, which I'd be willing to bet was also sourced from great suppliers but I'm afraid I was on too much of a cheese-bender to ask.
|Fennel, red pepper and lentil salad|
To counter-balance the rich Cheddar we ordered a 'small' fennel, red pepper and lentil salad for £2. A generous mound of healthiness arrived. £2! What a steal. The best thing about this zesty salad was that every part of the individual ingredients was used: celery leaves, fennel fronds, the knobbly bits from the end of the red pepper; all finely chopped and diced and delicately tossed in a light lemon dressing.
Tea and (Square Mile) coffee arrived in mismatched 60s and 70s china. We were tempted by the array of little cakes, shortbread and custard tarts on the counter but too stuffed to indulge. Still, as I'm now the proud owner of a St David Coffee House loyalty card it won't be long before I return to conduct a (purely scientific) review of the cakeage.
St David Coffee House, 5 Davids Road, Forest Hill SE23 3EP.