When my son and I emerged from Coffee 091 on Wednesday morning after having some breakfast there, Jonathan remarked that it was ‘a little gem’.
Coffee 091 opened a few weeks ago and has slowly come together from a temporary sign by the door to permanent sign above, and the inside looking more lived in and attractive. We pass it taking the boys to nursery but having always been loyal to the Italian bakery further down the high street, didn’t at first go in. But since the bakery has stopped opening on Wednesdays, we’ve had to try other cafes. And Cafe 091 is a great find and I don’t think our visits will be confined to Wednesdays.
Whitton is in the northwest part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and part of Twickenham. It seems with Cafe 091 that Richmond’s gentrification is reaching its furthest corners. The cafe’s bare-brick walls and artisan feel give promise of top-quality coffee and food.
Bags of coffee beans sit on the counter; some are mixed to make the ‘home’ brew they serve as espresso, cappuccino, or whatever you choose. The coffee is excellent. There are good croissants in the morning and homemade cakes sitting under covers. I asked the Italian owner – who comes from Sicily – where he got the cakes from. He looked surprised and said, I make them.
For breakfast on Wednesday, I only wanted coffee (a flat white – £2.50) and a croissant as I’d eaten cereal earlier. Did I want jam? I was asked. In Italian mode (for their croissants are often filled with jam or custard), I said yes. Rather than it being filled with jam at the time of cooking, it was cut open now and a large spoonful of jam added. Served on a piece of slate, it was gently dusted with icing sugar and you could see, just in that simple snack, that care and attention had gone into serving it to me.
Jonathan remarked that he loved the way Italians always took care to present even the simplest plate of food nicely.
He’d opted for Scrambled Eggs on Toast (£4.00). This too came carefully presented, accompanied by a little side salad,. We could see the egg being scrambled in the back while we waited; some chopped fresh chives added to the mix. Jonathan said the eggs were well cooked; still soft and creamy.
Today I headed back at lunchtime. I’d been into central London early but decided I’d go to Whitton and the cafe for lunch before going home. Momentarily it seemed like a crazy idea – there’s a big rugby match on today and trains, roads, pubs and cafes were full of rugby fans. When I got to Coffee 091 it looked full. But the owner was at the door and I think recognised me as a local rather than a rugby visitor. He offered to find me a seat. He moved a small table and chair to a spot by the counter and invited me to sit down.
I ordered a Vegetarian Ciabatta (courgettes, aubergines, tomato & basil – £6.00).
It took a little while to come, but I wasn’t in a hurry. And when it did arrive at my table, again the care was evident. The warm ciabatta roll was full to bursting with freshly cooked slices of vegetables. I’m sure it must have all be cooked to order. And it was very good.
I had some Pellegrino water with it and finished with an espresso.
Coffee 091 is really a great local addition. I have to say that because everything is freshly cooked to order, it’s not a place to go when you’re in a hurry. The menu at the moment is small. But the owner talked of his plans … and it’s definitely a place to watch to see what good things come next. And I know the family and I are going to be going there a lot.