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La Duchesse information

La Duchesse is a cute little cafe and coffee shop that proves popular with residents of Stoke Newington.

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Opening Hours
Opening Hours
MON

08:00 - 20:00

TUE

08:00 - 20:00

WED

08:00 - 20:00

THU

08:00 - 20:00

FRI

08:00 - 20:00

SAT

08:00 - 20:00

SUN

08:00 - 20:00

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La Duchesse reviews



By E.

Pizza place turns patisserie on Stoke Newington’s Church Street.

The Venue
La Duchesse café takes over what used to be a small Italian pizza place in Stokey and it has had a little facelift to fit in with this colourful end of Church Street. It now has a bold yellow header and a diddy wheat grain logo, which just about helps it stand out from the kebab shops and newsagents that cluster here. Floor-to-ceiling windows sit at the shop front and a spread of cakes and pastries are tempting eye candy on the countertop. A combination of white and exposed brick walls, as well as mounted wicker baskets and beaten books on shelves give a rustic country feel to the décor, although this seems incongruous with modern light fittings, a deli counter and laminate wooden floorboards. A couple of alcoves hide antique armchair seats towards the rear of this narrow room away from the action at the café counter.

The Atmosphere
There’s no more buzz about La Duchesse than in the many other cafes that litter everpopular Church Street. In fact, it can be a little quiet at peak morning and weekend brunch times since many still associate the venue with its pizza-serving days. But those tempting pastries and cakes in the window do catch the eye of passers-by, and some stop off for a coffee on the go as well as dropping by for a more leisurely bite. Staff make every effort to impress new customers, but it can seem a little forced, even smarmy, at times. Especially when they forget to warn you that they don’t take card and will hold a member of your party ‘as hostage’ while you adventure across the road to take cash out. It’s all light-hearted, you’ll hope.

The Food
Those alluring cakes cost just £2.90 and are the highlight at La Duchesse – the carrot cake is moist and covered in a creamy butter icing. Fresh fruit tarts at £3.50 have the traditional glaze and look every bit as professional as you could hope them to. And the lemon meringue tarts are a visual triumph, showing off their bronzed peaks in the cake display case or high and mighty on the counter. All butter croissants (£1.80) are a little lardy and a can be hard from sitting out on display too long, though. The café has also ventured into breakfast territory and the patisserie does sweet options like French toast with honey and whipped cream (£4.80) well, while options veering towards the English breakfast side of things are a little less accomplished. Omelette and salad (£5.80) is an unadventurous offering and although it tastes fine, you may be hoping for a little more ingenuity. Having said that, portions are generous and prices are keen for the area, best witnessed in the continental breakfast, which costs just £6.60 and includes a croissant, ham, emmantal cheese, fruit salad and fruit juice.

The Drink
The coffee is acceptable at La Duchesse, but it won’t be anything to write home about and can occasionally taste unpalatably bitter. An americano costs £1.80 while a cappuccino is just £1.90. Smoothies add a bit more variety to proceedings and include an uplifting Merry Berry (£3) or Blue Melon with a juicy combination of melon, grape and blueberry (£3).

The Last Word
La Duchesse does a good trade in pretty pastries and tasty cakes and fills a gap in the market for them at this end of Church Street. But it needs to up its game in the brunch stakes and could do with brushing up on the barista skills pretty swiftly.

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