Monday, 9 July 2012

Deli Cafe, Stratford-upon-Avon

Access can be a problem here. The doorways are quite narrow and if the place is full it can be damned near impossible to get in. Have a look before you enter and see if you can suss out a clear route to a table. If not, it is best not to bother unless the weather is good enough for you to sit outdoors.

This is a place frequented by locals - despite the decor. The walls are practically papered with leaflets and posters advertising what-to-dos and where-to-gos; but the first time I went here the staff knew everyone by their first name and asked a couple of them if they wanted 'the usual'. This second visit there were a couple of families also clearly familiar to the staff. Makes for a nice atmosphere, though. My waitress remembered that I preferred white bread and a latte. The latter was piping hot and creamy, served in a tall glass a la Costas.The fried eggs on toast was perfect, not too greasy, just ever so slightly runny yolk, and crunchy, crusty toast.

The selection is huge. You are handed a menu the size of a novella with colour-coded pages for the differing food group, ie breakfasts, pastries. Like a lot of places in Stratford aiming to attract custom, this place does everything - fish and chips, lasagne, soups, sandwiches and baguettes, desserts. Reasonably priced too. For the budget conscious they also offer a Nescafe or Nescafe with milk for just over a quid if you aren't too fussed about speciality coffee.

That is what it is I like about this place. It is a hair's breadth from being a greasy spoon - big breakfasts and unpretentious coffee - but rises above it. It even smells of fried food; not the noxious, greasy miasma you sometimes get in the less reputable establishments; but that piquant bouquet that promises crispy edges, plump yolks, crumby toast with actual butter and bacon butties with just the right amount of chin-drip. If it's a rotten day outside grab a table by the kitchen - which is not behind closed doors - and envelop yourself in a warm fug of comfort eating.

Latte: *****
Access: *****

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