You wouldn’t think that eating cake and drinking coffee in pursuit of London’s Most Toddler-Friendly Cafe would cause any aggro, would you? Well, it hasn’t really, but after I visited Dulwich Park Cafe with Maria I did get some “feedback” from C’sMum that she thought I should come and check out her local option as well. And she thought that I was playing favourites and that me and Maria were ganging up on her and talking about her and making fun of her northern accent behind her back. That last bit might be true, or it might not.
All of which led us to the leafy surrounds of East Greenwich Pleasaunce. The parking signs were somewhat misleading, so we ended up miles away and up a very steep hill, under this, the most elusive of London street signs:
It was like winning the parking lottery. Coincidentally, C’sDad has won the lottery..but it might not be enough to cover the cost of an hour’s parking in Greenwich. Anyway, we zoomed down the steep hill, with Reuben on his beloved “Scooty” and a small trail of sparks behind him, until we found a small path that didn’t look like it led to any sort of cafe.
The first thing we saw was a graveyard. This was not boding well. Reuben suggested that it was a “camouflage cafe” and it was hiding in the trees somewhere. Nathan thought that having a cafe that no-one could find was a risky business model, and he’s probably right. But when we did find it, it actually was a bit camouflaged:
Still, we’re clever enough to spot the cafe among the leaves. And then we even spotted family C too! So it was time to get some caffeine, but things were a little fraught inside, with someone new on the till and quite some confusion about C’sMum’s Americano. But we got the right coffees in the end, delivered to a picnic bench outside, while Reuben and C clamboured over the graves. I was a little uneasy about that, but with the graveyard being in the middle of the park, I expect the corpses are used to it. Obviously, they were there first, but the park has been built up around it and they now sit peacefully together – graves, one o clock club, cafe, playground. What’s strange about that?
Inside the cafe it was as cute as you’d expect, with a play area and toys for sale. They had an impressive collection of Innocent smoothie magnets, which luckily Reuben didn’t spot (he’s still missing a few numbers and I wouldn’t put it past him to liberate some). He did spot the blocks and the toy kitchen though:
The menu was fairly straightforward, with jacket potatoes, sandwiches and savoury pancakes. A news cutting proudly declared that it was a “chip-free zone” – I’ll leave you to decide whether that’s a good thing or not. The cakes looked yummy and the coffee was pretty good. I am really getting back into this coffee thing.
There are also highchairs and baby changing facilities and lots of outside seating, although the inside is not huge. Roo had beans on toast (keeping the Thomas tradition alive even when he’s not here), I had a nice jacket potato, Nathan had a tasty club sandwich and the C Family had a cheese and ham pancake. All good, and reasonably priced. Eva had a croissant, because she’s not really eating much else right now.
And then it was time to check out the playground. It wasn’t huge – two sets of swings, a climbing frame and a slide – but it kept Roo and Eva amused for a few minutes until it started to rain and we headed back under the trees to watch one of C’s friends setting off a pneumatic rocket thing.
So, a quirky park and a nice cafe. Will it be on the shortlist? Ah probably…I’m going to announce it just before half term, then the winner will be announced on November 1st. Keep checking back for more information…