Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Year of Eating Differently (78): Cafe Nero, Frith Street

Wasn't it a young Snoop Dogg (back when he was still Doggy Dogg) who declared 'make my s__t chronic, I want to get f___ed up'? In my opinion, he should have asked for his s__t to be made out of Brasso, because I reckon drinking metal polish is a sure-fire way to ruination, whereas your experience of smoking cannabis may vary.
Not sure why such a rumination would flicker across my frontal lobes today, but perhaps it was the surprise that it's taken this long to get round to Cafe Nero.
Possibly this is because it's such a dull experience. Pret is annoyingly earnest. Why have all those instructions printed on bags telling you how to make your own sandwiches? Surely the reason you bought a sandwich is because you haven't time to make your own? Starbucks is overpriced. Coffee Republic is also overpriced, but with that nagging worry at the back of your head as to why it hasn't shut down yet for lack of custom. Costa used to do decent muffins until they retired the ginger one last week, and replaced it with an orange muffin with lemon-flavoured smegma on top (that was a nice breakfast today).
Nero, on the other hand, apart from enraging its shareholders with some kind of MBO last year (the details of which are too dull to go into here) is just a coffee shop, with an ok line in preprepared pannini. I made the potential mistake of choosing the pasta instead, which turns out to be bits of pasta in a microwave-hardened tomato paste. But it's not half bad, surprisingly enough. Or rather, it tastes just like one of those Tesco Finest upmarket pasta snacks, microwaved. For a third more volume, but three times the price. Still, I've done Tesco's already, so I can't really complain. That aside, it's about as ersatz as large coffee chains go. But that's not so bad, really.


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