Melissa Cafe, London
Cafe - Address: 27 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Melissa Cafe, London"
I am back, and determined to start posting regularly agan!!
To some of you it may seem like I am reviewing a very obscure little cafe, for no reason at all, but for anyone who uses Britain's network of public transport, and in particular coaches, I hope that this could be useful.If you are a long distance coach user, then it is very likely that you have at some point ended up in Victoria Coach Station in the heart of London. This very unedifying and rather scruffy place is a central hub for many coach journeys, and I often find I that one of the legs of my journey will be going in the wrong direction in order to transfer to another coach here. Why they still insist on driving coaches through the congested streets of London to this inadequately sized bus station is beyond me, on my last journey it took over an hour in rush hour traffic to just cross the Thames in order to continue our journey north. But because it is located right in the heart of London you do get compensated when the coach you paid peanuts for drives right past the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Harrods, The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, with fleeting views of the Shard thrown in...shame the driver doesn't give a running commentary.
Anyway, when you finally arrive at Victoria Coach station, not to be confused with Victoria Tube or Train station, it is likely you will have some time to kill while waiting for the next link in your journey. While space within the departures section has been thoughtfully given over to various overpriced food franchises, they are all of the take away variety, and there is actually nowhere for you to take your food or drink away to, except uncomfortable seats in a grimy and draughty hall, with people pushing past you and rolling suitcase wheels over you toes. And then they have the cheek to charge you 20p for the old fashioned and unhygenic toilets, such payment giving you the chance to appreciate the paint peeling off the old tiles while you search for the non existent toilet paper.Unlike in an airport though, coach customers are not a captive audience, and I decided to use my two hours of waiting time to explore a little.
In order to get from Victoria coach station “Arrivals” to “Departures” , you need to cross Elizabeth St, leaving the station by a not very well signposted side exit, and bumping your suitcase along the uneven street to the Pelican crossing on this busy street. By the time I had come this far on my last journey, I could not face the cold and draughty departures hall so carried on up the street for a little wander, and popped into the nearby Sainsbury Local to get some snacks for my journey at deliberately hiked up prices, then wondered if any of the fancy looking cafes on the street would make me a cup of tea for a reasonable price. Wandering up and down the street, most of them looked like the sort of place that would charge £4.50 for a weird sounding Dewberry Dust or Lime leaf and White Chocolate concoction...not for me thanks..I like PG tips, with or without the monkeys, not too strong and with lots of milk and sugar, and I didn't much fancy lugging my suitcase into these fancy establishments only to find out that such a thing was beneath them!!
Melissa CafeSuddenly, on my despondent way back to the coach station I spotted a sandwich board with “Teas & coffees” chalked boldly across it. That'll do me! The establishment that drew me in by it's unflashy style of advertising, was in actual fact a kebab takeaway, but from the open doorway I could see all their prices clearly shown on the board above the serving area, and the price of a cup of tea was £1.60. I also spied a cafe style seating area at the back of the shop too.
I was greeted with a smile, and my request for just a cup of tea, although met with a slight raising of the eyebrows, was accompanied by a smile and an invitation to sit myself down in the cafe and my tea would be brought to me. What luxury especially as I was lugging a heavy bag and a suitcase on wheels.So I wandered through, past the normal kebab type counter and high stools for those eating on the run, and was pleasantly surprised when I entered the cafe area. Gone was the rather garish norm of a kebab shop environment behind me. This area was tastefully decorated in greys and greens, well lit and airy, with colourful artwork on the walls and a mirror decorated with a red painted trellis covering the full width of the end wall, adding a zing of colour and accentuating the airy feeling of the place. Shiny pale wooden floor and solid wooden tables and chairs completed the tranquil look.
I sat in my comfy wooden chair and looking around me I could see people enjoying plates of tasty looking, but nothing out of the ordinary, cafe type food...chicken and chips, kebabs, burgers etc. About half of the ten wooden tables were occupied by a wide mixture of age ranges, but it didn't feel noisy or crowded at all. My cup of tea arrived within about five minutes, in a nice china mug with the teabag still in so I could suit the strength to my taste, a spoon and a saucer for the teabag. Milk was in a little jug instead of those confounded little plastic pots, and there were paper sachets of sugar and saccharin already in a pot on the table next to the ketchups and the cute pale green salt and pepper grinders. Very nice not to have to get up and go searching for utensils and additives.Unfortunately I had no need of the toilet, having used the facilities in the coach station so I cannot comment on the quality, or even where they were located. But I did notice that the place, cosy and warmed by radiators on this January day, had air conditioning which I am sure must be welcome in the heat of summer.
As far as I was aware the staff were all foreign, but spoke very good English and there was no problem with communication on either side. I was greeted with smiles and pleasant comments, and the young lady who served my tea apologised very charmingly for their lack of Wi-Fi when I asked if this service was available. Tables were cleaned and cleared as soon as customers left, and everything I saw looked spotless and well cared for. I was left alone to peacefully write up the bare bones of this review on my laptop, while I enjoyed my very good cup of tea, marvelling at how they could provide it at this price in the centre of London.
PricesMy cup of tea was priced at £1.60, and I believe a basic cup of coffee started at £1.70 with climbing prices depending on the type of coffee concoction. Although I chose not to eat, having already spent my budget on snacks from the supermarket, I believe the kebabs started at a very reasonable £4.50.
Location and Accessibility
Located just 5 doors away from the departures section of Victoria Coach Station, this has an enviable spot, and is surrounded by much fancier and presumably higher priced, cafes and bars.
I noticed a small step going into the shop, and the sit down section was down two shallow steps, but judging by the staff I am sure they would help someone with mobility problems to negotiate these small obstacles. Although I never saw them myself, I gather from other reviews that unfortunately the toilets are located down a steep set of stairs, so like me you may have to brave the awful coach station ones if stairs are a problem.
27 Elizabeth Street
Tel: +44 7762 270998http://www.melissaskitchenlondon.co.uk/
My OpinionI was very pleased to find this little oasis during yet another long and boring coach trip, and wished I had seen it before heading to the supermarket and spending my money on junk food. Being a tea addict, I always welcome a sit down and a cuppa to lift my spirits, and this place certainly did that and I regret not trying their food.
I am a hater of international chains, and avoid them like the plague if I possibly can. A paper cup collected myself from a Starbucks or Costa, while I struggle with wooden stirring sticks and awkward lids just doesn't cut it for me...when did this self-service culture become not only the norm, but for some reason a highly prized fashion statement? Especially when for just about half the price I can get my tea brought to me in a china mug by a smiling waitress and not have to worry about juggling my heavy bags around on my shoulder.Nor do I need fancy cuisine, high prices or snooty waiters. Give me good old fashioned courtesy and hearty food at reasonable prices any day! I hope other fellow travellers enjoy this little place as much as I did, and next time I shall forgo the over-hyped prices of the Sainsbury Local, and treat myself to a plate of food at Melissa's to set myself up for the journey ahead.
Product Information : Melissa Cafe, London
Manufacturer's product descriptionCafe - Address: 27 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
Address: 27 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
Listed on Ciao since: 01/03/2017