Sunday, 14 April 2013

42 Provost Street cafe - a lost opportunity, a good chill out place nevertheless

42 Provost Street cafe review
42 Provost Street Cafe

Address: 42 Provost Street,
London N1 4JS
Phone: -
Nearest Overground station:
Old Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10
Service charge: N/A
Taste: **
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
Frankly, if you are not going to bother coming up with a catchy name for your brand new cafe, the worst thing to do would be to call it The Cafe. Calling it a number is the next worst thing unless you are Jamie Oliver.

42, which owes its name to its address 42 Provost Street, is a case in point. It's not the only guilty one though; a quick search online reveals a number of other "42" cafes on the streets all round the world. This particular one is  the newest cafe and diner to the north of Old Street. Its opening is well timed - the new student hostel above Tesco located along New North Road is just yelling out for a decent cafe.

In that respect, 42 is perfect. Free wifi, checked, comfortable sofa seats, checked, high counters and stools perched along its glass facade, checked, newspapers, checked (albeit a couple of days' old). If only it opens till later (currently at 6pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends).

42 Provost Street cafe review chicken escalope
Chicken escalope sandwich - it fills up the stomach alright

It is not a gourmet destination, that's for sure. Neither does it have the brilliant sandwiches that are flying off the counter at Shoreditch Grind. Instead tired looking mushroom, cheese, chicken, sausages sandwiches are stacked up in a dimly lit display. Pastries, too, look rather tired sitting beside them. They even have boiled eggs going for 80p each. I'm not sure how long they have been sitting on the counter though and I'm not particularly fond of hard boiled eggs unless they are freshly made.

Beverages wise, no surprises here. It has got run of the mill coffee, tea and hot chocolate, none over £2.20. For those feeling a tad peckish, a chicken escalope sandwich goes for £4.50. Heartier pasta based can be had for a bit more.

42 Provost Street cafe review espresso

No one can deny that the place has potential but unless the menu is spruced up a bit, it will remain little more than a place to chill for now. Then again, it is perfect for laptops totting students. That is one group of people that this part of London is not short of.

Note: I walked past the cafe yesterday and saw that they've got themselves a name for it - Coffee Junction. That's the good news. The bad news is that Urbanest, a coffee joint right beneath the student quarters next to Bevenden Street is opening up as well. Then again, coffee is one thing that you can never get enough of, isn't it?

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