For a toe-curling espresso and a warm gooey panini pop into SE19's Italian cafe, La Bruschetta; its coffee's been keeping Crystal Palace awake since 2004.
La Bruschetta is a welcome change from the clutch of more formal dining options Crystal Palace has to offer. This bright, welcoming and truly Italian cafe is open from morning till dusk every day. The decor is more tasteful than traditional with blonde wood benches, low-slung leather couches and a long glass deli-counter, of which is filled daily with palatable delights from Italy and the Mediterranean.
La Bruschetta is one of the friendliest hangouts on the triangle and has a constant stream of loyal locals in for coffee, lunch or just a chat. Being Italian and openly family friendly there are usually a throng of mums with kids in for coffee and cake. The slow hiss of the hard-working Gaggia mixed with the honeyed ear syrup of Magic FM, all adds to the easy-going atmosphere. Lunchtimes are the busiest with half of SE19 popping in for a prosciutto and mozzarella ciabatta and a double latte.
The tempting array of antipasto on show in the polished chiller makes it almost impossible not to order food here. Paninis are a speciality, the mozzarella, sundried tomato and basil pesto version is as herby and delicious as it is messy. Salads, including the divine tricolor, are thrown together with oily gusto and served with crusty warm ciabatta. Pastries and fresh cakes are available all day and the Italian ice-cream in a palette of flavours prove very popular with the younger customers.
Besides the espressos, cappuccinos and lattes all of which are the staple of any Italian cafe, La Bruschetta makes a mean iced coffee and some fabulously frothy milkshakes. The cafe is licensed, enabling you to sate that late afternoon fancy for a draught Peroni. There are limited wine and spirit selections, but then again this is a cafe not a bar.
The Last Word
La Bruschetta is the sort of cafe every Londoner longs to have at the end of the road. Good coffee, great food and a real sense of community. Recommended.