12 September 2010
Just a couple of days ago the newest footsoldier in the Chatsworth Road gentrification brigade opened: Creperie du Monde. As a hang out it gets five stars: the decor is an outstanding refit of the butcher shop that used to be there (I think). It's all exposed brick and industrial wood - everything has a patina.
They've foregone art on the walls in favour of artfully displayed empty frames. It's all effortless, functional and paying off: there was a diverse Sunday afternoon crowd, heavy on the young families. Unfortunately the success of the slick retro design aesthetic was let down by the mildly-inflated price point and politely stunned service.
Slow service is really to be expected in the early days - and at least it was friendly - so I'm going to give them a wait-and-see on that front. Yet we were not the only patrons surprised by the disorganization. Others seemed extremely put out by it, but we were won over by the earnestness of the girl behind the till. Anyway, once the growing pains pass, alert service should smooth out the frowns.
My real problem is price. While I wholeheartedly support your efforts to make Chatsworth Road a funky weekend destination, I think you could still provide a reasonably-priced cup of coffee? Not to niggle, but I will. Charging 2.25£ for an array of espresso-based beverages that I should cost 2£ (in my decidedly unglamourous neighbourhood well outside the centre of London) just seems unnecessary.
Besides, I'm a jobless recent gradute - I need a place to hang out and drink inexpensive coffee. Not that you could have known where I'd draw the line, but err on the side of caution. Anyway, the fact that you misspell cappuccino doesn't encourage me to overpay for your coffee.
My crepe was the Taste of Mexico - nice enough, with a generous portion of chicken breast, but the flavours didn't bring to mind pinatas and banditos. Might I suggest the addition of some jalapeños? Or perhaps the problem is my own: I generally prefer my French pancakes on the sugary side, so maybe I should have sampled one of the berry or nutella based versions. C'est ma faute.
Overall, Creperie du Monde is a comfy and tastefully-designed hangout in the Chatsworth area. Once the discombobulated service gets sorted it'll be worth the trip if you're crazy for crepes. And the cultural impact could be significant; I'm expecting it to become a reference point for gentrification-theorists - Venetia's and L'Epicerie started the regeneration wave, but the creperie was a formal statement of intent.
I just hope those theorists don't mind paying a little extra for their 'cappacinos'.