Affogato, SW16 4AQ

Cafe/coffee shop in Norbury.

It's on the upmarket side, with modern but subtle decor in greys, creams, and browns. The tables are sturdy slabs of wood atop iron frames — some smaller, some larger and seemingly communal — and the seats are padded in brown pleather. An early-2017 refurbishment saw the removal of most of the banquette that used to run along one wall, but a small portion remains in a cosy little alcove at the back. Four small tables sit out the front on the pavement for al fresco dining.

The long service counter displays ice creams and cakes, while coffee syrups and caddies of tea sit on shelves behind. The more unusual tea options such as ceylon with vanilla seem to have vanished during the refurb, but the tea remains 100% loose-leaf, supplied by We Are Tea. The refurb also saw the addition of lots more savoury items to the menu. They use turkey bacon and beef sausages, and their meat is halal.

Kake has visited several times now, at different times of day. In August 2017, there were just two other customers when I arrived around 9:15am, and after they departed I was on my own until it started to fill up again around 10am. Talk radio was playing at a volume which wouldn't have impeded conversation but was a bit too loud to easily ignore. On a Thursday lunchtime in April 2016, there were half a dozen people in when I arrived around 1:30pm, and by the time I left half a hour later this had dwindled to three. On Thursday afternoon visits in March 2016 and January 2018, on both occasions there were about a dozen other customers when I arrived a little after 2:30pm, and several more came and went while I was there. No music was playing, but there was plenty of lively conversation.

In April 2016, eggs florentine (£5.50) photo was well-presented, and a change from the usual in that one egg was on the traditional spinach while the other was on a halved tomato (this was clearly indicated on the menu). The spinach was nicely seasoned and nicely cooked, and I wished there had been more of it. The yolks of the eggs were properly runny, spilling out at the mere touch of a knife, but unfortunately so in part were the whites (still, I'd rather have slightly runny whites than a hard yolk). The muffin was a bit too doughy for my taste. I was initially a bit sceptical of the reduced balsamic drizzle, but it turned out to be nicely balanced, not too sweet, and a useful extra little kick of tanginess.

In July 2017, eggs benedict with smoked salmon (£10) photo came with a generous quantity of thickly-cut smoked salmon; this may have had something to do with the fact that they charged me for the plain eggs benedict (£6) plus a side of smoked salmon (£4) rather than the £8.50 indicated on the menu for eggs benedict with smoked salmon. The eggs were fine, though would have been better if they'd come properly runny as requested; they were just over, making them creamy rather than runny. I'd have preferred more hollandaise, but I liked the sprinkling of chilli powder and microgreens on top. It was served on some good sourdough bread rather than a muffin.

In August 2017, shakshuka (baked eggs in tomato/onion sauce, £7) photo was pretty good, served in a small cast-iron pan that kept it warm throughout and had also produced some flavourful browning of the sauce at the bottom of the pan. The egg yolks were runny as requested, and the sauce had a good balance of sweetness and sharpness, as well as a nice hint of spice. The eggs, sauce, and bread were in good proportion to each other.

In January 2018, I had a breakfast muffin (£5) photo which included a fried egg, a slice of cheese, some turkey bacon, and a hash brown. It arrived deconstructed, with the bacon and hash brown perched on top, but once I'd put it all together it was a good combination of textures and flavours. The egg yolk was creamy with a runny centre, which worked very well.

In March 2016 and January 2018, pots of peppermint tea (£1.90) photo were nicely refreshing, with a strong but not harsh flavour. In August 2017, peach iced tea (£3) photo came with a huge amount of crushed ice, which watered it down rather too much and also made it a rather small portion for the price. The peach flavour was nicely subtle, though, and it wasn't overly sweet.

Service was friendly on all these visits.

They have free Wifi, with the password printed on top of the sugar jars that sit on each table; this was quite laggy on our July 2017 visit, but had improved by January 2018.

Kake's verdict: I come here fairly often (though this is partly because it's only three stops on the train from my house) and would recommend it to others who happen to find themselves in the area. It's a good place to work for a couple of hours.

Child-friendliness: They have a relatively interesting children's menu. There's a pull-down baby change in the (unisex) toilet.

Accessibility: A step to get in. No steps to toilet (single unisex cubicle), though the floor is a bit uneven.

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Last visited by Kake, May 2018. Opening hours taken from sign on door, May 2018.
OS X co-ord: 530671 OS Y co-ord: 169560 (Latitude: 51.410013 Longitude: -0.122545)
Last edited 2018-05-03 10:49:49 (version 10; diff). List all versions.