London is besieged by coffee and sandwich bars of varying standards. However, a breath of fresh Italian air has blown into town in the shape of La Bottega del Caffe.
La Bottega has branches in Italy and their high quality food and drinks are now reaching the UK. Just down from the BBC and just a coffee bean’s throw from Oxford Circus, La Bottega del Caffe has everything going for it. Being Italian there’s a chic stylishness about the room which stretches way, way back, with a long counter at the front and seats and tables at the rear. It’s a dual operation as anything and everything may be either consumed in or taken away. The décor is bright and cheerful and the array of food on display whets the appetite immediately.
There’s a healthy buzz to the place and, being so near to Oxford Street and Regent Street, it's somewhere for shoppers to relax. And relax they will because the ambience is truly comforting. The members of staff are friendly, helpful, very polite and welcoming - thanks perhaps to its Italian authenicity. It all looks clean and fresh, from the surroundings to the food itself.
La Bottega is open all day for sandwiches, salads and pastries, plus hot and cold drinks - but nothing alcoholic. All the produce is supplied from Italy and that includes the best Italian delicatessen. All the breads are Italian, so you can choose from foccaccia (£4.50-£5.50), panini (£4.20-£4.50), crostini (£6.90-£7.35) and others, all offering a wealth of excellent fresh fillings. If you want a savoury and generous bite, try foccaccia filled with Parma ham, cooked ham or speck, the north Italian smoked and spiced ham. All are freshly made and combined with mozzarella, tomato, rocket or basil. There are also non-meat fillings such as tuna with mayonnaise or mozzarella and tomato. The panini are equally good with bresaola (the air-dried beef from the Italian Alps) dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan and pine nuts; turkey with pesto (basil and pine nuts); smoked beef with pepper sauce and many more.
Even more substantial are the salads (£2.95-£7.50) including prawn, chicken, bresaola and mozzarella with tomatoes. The Mediterranean is a bumper dish of toasted bread with salad, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, black olives and mozzarella. There are three platters or taglieri (£12.95), comprising variations on the ingredients of Parma ham, culatello (pear-shaped, air-dried Parma ham), mortadella or speck, combined with different cheeses such as gorgonzola, taleggio and Parmesan. All the meats and the rich, creamy cheeses are in very good condition and of the highest quality. Desserts (£1.45-£3.50) include filled croissants (£1.75) with custard, chocolate or jam fillings. The lemon custard is particularly fine and there is a marvellous chocolate tart with pear in which the chocolate filling is not too rich and nicely offset by the fresh pear.
Only the best Arabica beans are used for the coffee (£1.50-£3.20), which include espressos, cappuccinos, Americanos and macchiatos. There’s also a list of monorigini - top of the range coffees that are strong (Santos), sweet (Colombia), sweet and spicy (Guatemala), or sweet and strong (Costa Rica). They can be served with or without cream or ice cream, flavoured, shaken with ice or decaffeinated. Tea and hot chocolate are also available along with soft drinks, waters, juices and the most delicious smoothies. Those made from red and green apples and melon, carrot, apple and grapes are particularly refreshing. You can almost feel them doing you good.
The Last Word
Eating today is often done on the run, so you should consume only the best. La Bottega del Caffe ensures you do, making even a quick snack a meal to remember.