Friday, 3 April 2015

Restaurant Review: Chicchi Cafe Roman Road East London


I am always looking for cool cafes and restaurants whenever I am out and about in London.  Especially when I am working and going to meetings. The restaurant, or cafe needs to have good vegetarian or vegan options, and it needs to be reasonably priced too. Chicchi is a cool modern cafe nestled in the heart of East London's Roman Road. It is a lovely little spot, here is my review.

                                                      First Impressions

One of the first things I look at when I walk into a cafe/restaurant is the decor. If I am not feeling the decor, then I usually walk straight out. Also the smell, it has to have that inviting aroma that makes you want to hastily order something and get to scoffing. Upon first glance, Chicchi had some nice black, grey and white decor. Everything looks modern and chic, which is refreshing because most of the cafes within the Roman Road market are greasy spoon cafes. Which is fine if that is what you are looking for however, on this occasion I was looking for something less greasy spoon and more London art cafe. Talking of art cafe, they have art on the walls, I will talk about that later.  The food looked fresh with sandwich fillings and salad displayed to the side of the main entrance.

I also noticed a variety of different breads to choose from. Such as ciabatta bread, baguette and focaccia bread. I am not really a sandwich person so I wasn't really interested in those.  The staff were very attentive from the moment I walked in the door. They immediately greeted me and directed me to the menu. I  went in at about 12:30pm and they were still serving breakfast at this time. I was told that they offer breakfast all day. I noticed on the breakfast menu that they offered a veggie breakfast. Which consists of veggie sausage, mushrooms, eggs, beans and toast.  You can leave out the eggs for a vegan option. The veggie breakfast is reasonably priced at just £4.  I think this is really reasonable, considering the veggie breakfasts in the greasy spoon cafes in the area cost between £5 and £6.

I ordered a cold pasta salad dish with penne pasta, sun dried tomatoes, avocado and olives with a pesto dressing. Usually this dish would contain mozzarella but I omitted the cheese and replaced it with olives to make it vegan. I will say though that the next time I order this dish, I will not include the olives. I found that the olives made the dish a bit too salty because the sun dried tomatoes already have a salty taste. In the end I just removed the olives and the dish tasted amazing.  This meal came in a reasonably sized rectangular dish, and it was a lot of food. Not too much food, but it was enough for a lunch time feast. I did not get a drink but the meal came to £6.30 altogether.  I think this is reasonable considering the fact that it is relatively healthy compared to some of the other food choices available in the local area.

One of the things that really gets to me when I go to a restaurant is bad service. I think the least that a restaurant could offer is good service, polite staff and food on time.  The staff were attentive from the minute I walked in the door. You order your food at the counter and then they bring the food to you. I think I would have preferred them to come to the table and take my order.  However, I do not think this is a major issue. The food came pretty quickly and the waitress immediately asked me if I wanted any extras such as salt and pepper. So overall I think they offer a very good service, and I would probably go there again in the future.

What Else Do they Offer ?
I did scan the menu briefly and I noticed they offer full English breakfasts for  £5, they also offer pizzas, a variety of sandwiches, scrambled egg on toast for £3. Waffles with a variety of toppings for £3. They offer hot food such as lasagna and vegetable lasagna for £6, the portions are big because the man next to me ordered a vegetable lasagna. They offer other hot pasta dishes such as vegetable pasta with tomato sauce and carbonara. They also serve smoothies and milkshakes as well as coffee, hot chocolate loose leaf tea and a number of soft drinks such as orange juice, cloudy lemonade and apple juice. Everything seems like it is reasonably priced and seems decent enough for the price.

The place is super clean, I did not notice anything that would worry me in terms of cleanliness. The staff wore gloves when they prepared the food. The kitchen is out the back but they also do some food prep in the front area. The table was clean, they have two types of seating to choose from, low seating with comfortable lounge chairs. Then they have the high seating with leather, rigid restaurant dining chairs. I preferred the low chairs because they were more comfortable however, it did make it harder for me to eat my food. I did not mind though because I found the chair comfortable.  I did use the bathroom and it was pretty clean. Nothing luxurious but it was clean and well maintained.  So overall I was happy with the cleanliness of the place.

Other Things to Note
This cafe is interesting because it doubles up as an art gallery for up and coming artists. They have cool art pieces on the wall that are actually for sale, which is nice. So if you are interested in art this is a great place to go. There is also free Wifi there which is pretty fast so I would recommend this place for bloggers, freelance journalists or anyone who needs a place to do their work with free Wifi. It gets busy on Saturdays from what I have seen,  not only because it is a weekend, but Saturdays are market day. Chicchi is situated right at the beginning of Roman Road market if you are coming from Bethnal Green. If you come from the Parnell Road side, it would be at the end on the left hand side.

Would I recommend it?
I would definitely recommend Chicchi as  a cafe to go to if you want to avoid the greasy spoon type cafes in the Roman Road area. I think the pricing is reasonable, the service is good, the food is pretty decent and it is clean.

Star rating
 Image result for 3 and half star rating

Where to find Chicchi 
Location: 516 Roman Road
Greater London
E3 5ES
Tel: 0208 141 4190
Opening times: 8 am- 6pm Monday-Saturday

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