13 March 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Louie Louie

After all of my recent travels, I thought it was high time for a review of a café that is a little closer to home — just over a mile from home, to be more precise. I visited Louie Louie, an all-day eatery on the Walworth Road in London's SE17, back in January but hadn't had the chance to write up my visit. Louie Louie is a new venture from the team behind Fowlds, the café/upholsterers that has long been one of my Camberwell favourites. Serving food and drink with chef Oded Oren's Tel Aviv twist, including coffee from Square Mile and brunch at the weekends, Louie Louie is a great addition to a bustling, unpretentious stretch of the Walworth Road.

I arrived just after 10 am on a rainy Saturday morning and, as I had heard reports of long-ish wait times, I was pleased to find that there were still several tables available; by the time I left, the place had filled up — and happily, they do take bookings. From the outside, it's a little hard to believe you are still in Walworth and not somewhere like Nolita in New York. The café is beautiful with a contemporary, minimalist design and a space that is bright and airy, even on a grey day, thanks to the large front windows and white and light-wood décor. There are several smaller tables at the front and some larger spaces along the side, as well stools at the central bar.

The brunch menu includes a few smaller items — pastries, banana bread and granola — and, on the day I visited, three tempting brunch specials, one sweet (french toast with bacon, maple syrup and blueberries) and two savoury. There were also two baked egg dishes available to share, which I hope to sample when I return with my brunch club later this month. In the end, I ordered the cornbread with fried eggs and tomato salsa (£8), adding chorizo for an extra £2. The food was really tasty: the eggs were perfectly runny and the salsa was piquant enough to add some spice to the dish. The chorizo was great too, although the portion felt a little stingy.

Coffee-wise, I started with a piccolo (£2.40) made with Square Mile's smooth, nutty Red Brick blend, which was well brewed and tasted very good. There weren't any hand-brewed filter coffees on offer when I visited, but I did try the guest filter (£3) on batch brew, which was a Guatemalan coffee from London-based small-batch roaster Molecular Coffee, which was fruity and flavoursome. If the sun is already over the yardarm, you can also try one of the special brunch cocktails, both of which sounded interesting and delicious; later in the day, there is a longer list of beer, wine and cocktails.

All told, I had an excellent brunch at Louie Louie and I'm looking forward to returning again to sample more of the menu in a few weeks' time. I also plan to come back at night, when I imagine the ambience is quite different. Just be prepared to have Louie Louie's namesake song (whether it's The Kingsmen's version, The Troggs' or any of the many other covers of Richard Berry's song) in your head for the rest of the day!

Louie Louie. 347 Walworth Road, London, SE17 2AL (Tube: Kennington or Elephant & Castle). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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