Tuesday 12 May 2015

Cafe Par - London

115 St John's Street

Breakfast served all day

Opening hours
Weekdays - 6am till 6pm
Saturday - 8am till 4pm
Sunday - 9am till 4pm

Cafe Par is run by Peter who bought it back in 1991 from a golf fanatic, he decided to keep the name.

I was rewarded on my walk to the cafe with stunning views of the Barbican estate, I do love Brutalist Architecture and the Barbican estate is a prime example.

If people watching is your thing then sit by the window and watch the world go by on St John's Road. I warn you though its very quiet around here at weekends.

Although fairly small inside a table for 10 is still an option, a few smaller tables are available too.

The kitchen is behind the counter area, the chap behind the counter is quite possibly the friendliest and most welcoming owner we had ever encountered!

I am guessing by the selection of fillings and different breads that sandwiches are this cafes main bread and butter.

I was given the option of spicy or standard sausages, all the meat here is from nearby Smithfields Market. The quality is great but it seems that the sausages are cooked and later heated again. Perhaps this happens more often than I realise but here they were clearly quite open about this. 

There are menus on the tables but before we had time to sit down our order had been taken. The owner offered us everything he had available and seemed keen to ensure we didn't leave hungry.

A tea or coffee comes with the breakfast, I had two very nice white coffees.

The hot buttered toast here was delicious, cut from a quality loaf baked in Bermondsey.

I wasn't very impressed with the sauce presentation.

My breakfast was hidden underneath the eggs and getting another photo was no easy task.

Mid conversation with the owner I just went for it and got the shot I needed showing the other items on the plate.

This is the vegetarian breakfast, it looks slightly rude but my wife really enjoyed it! She was a bit shocked to find a small piece of bacon on the plate though (visible at the top of the plate)

I didn't really have anywhere particular in mind to visit for breakfast on my next trip to London so asked on my Facebook page if anyone could recommend somewhere. A number of suggestions were made but Cafe Par was the place I finally decided on as it looked quite promising and was in the right area for me on this particular visit. Once off the train at Liverpool Street we headed towards Cafe Par on foot (about 20 mins away) via Barbican...

Upon entering - I was quite surprised to find nobody else here when we arrived except the owner. Being almost in the City of London was the reason for this though the owner told us, it's a much different story Monday to Friday apparently. Because of this we could choose any table we liked, a long row of connecting tables run across the centre with smaller tables around the edge. There was also the option to sit higher up looking outside beside the window, we ended up sitting at a table for two, I ensured I had the best angle for photos. There are menus, salt, pepper and sugar already on the tables, cutlery and sauces arrive later. The sauces arrived in small jugs complete with a spoon, there was plenty in there but the dried sauce on the edge was a bit off putting. The counter is at the rear with the kitchen directly behind it, its a well lit cafe and a fairly pleasent environment but the tables could have done with a  good wipe. The main thing you will notice here though as soon as you enter is the welcome you are given, more on that in the next section. 5/10

Service - The chap running the place was so welcoming and friendly, we felt like we had been welcomed into his home, he was eager to please and very chatty. I like chatty but there is a fine line where it can become slightly irritating when you're trying to eat. As far as I was concerned though because he was so incredibly sincere and easy to talk too I didn't really mind so much on this occasion. It made getting photos incredibly difficult but in some ways it also made it much more exciting, by the end I was just taking photos whilst he was chatting away to us because it was the only way I was going to get any for my review! We discussed no end of things from pubs in Norwich to vegetarian sausages made on Smithfield meat market. When we first arrived we were asked what we wanted and given a choice of breakfast items. As the food started to cook the hot drinks arrived along with plenty of conversation. Next to arrive was the toast and cutlery shortly followed by the cooked breakfasts. We were offered sauces and as we made our way through our breakfasts offered more toast and hot drinks, we were certainly being well looked after here! By the time we paid and said goodbye we felt we had made a new friend, excellent service for sure! 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, black pudding, white pudding, 2 fried eggs, bubble and squeak, mushrooms, beans, 2 slices of buttered toast and a hot drink. 8/10

Presentation - A tad messy with the eggs perched on top covering everything else. The sauces were a bit shocking in the way they were presented with hard sauce formed on the edge of the containers. The toast looked excellent though stacked up on a side plate with the butter melting before my eyes. 4/10

The food - A remarkable sausage had been reheated and it did effect the taste which was a shame, still enjoyable but could have been much better. The bacon was fairly nice, the black and white pudding were both great. A fairly impressive pair of eggs with runny yolks intact and really tasty bubble and squeak with a nice coarse texture. Fairly standard beans and nicely cooked mushrooms. The highlight for me was the hot buttered toast, certainly cut from a quality loaf and perfect for mopping up the bean juice at the end. 6/10

Value for money - £6.50 seemed like a very reasonable price considering it was so close to the city and included toast and a hot drink. 7/10

Veggie option - Veggie sausage, haloumi, bubble and squeak, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, beans, buttered toast and a hot drink for £6.50
Overall - If somebody had told me that a constant conversation was going to take place over breakfast here I would have avoided it for sure. The chap here is such a friendly character though I really didn't mind too much. At one point my wife took a small piece of bacon off her veggie breakfast and discreetly placed it on my plate. Anywhere else we would have complained but Cafe Par broke the usual breakfast rules quite simply because the welcome and sincerity of the owner, something you certainly never encounter in a chain and it definitely gave us a warm feeling. Far from perfect but definitely somewhere I would suggest people visit at least once, a unique and memorable experience! 6.5/10  


  1. Not too bad, I'm sure it tasted better than it looks, but honestly that bubble just does not look right! Nice to see white pudding though, a very under used breakfast commodity in my humble opinion. £6.50 with that toast and a coffee...got to be a bargain.

  2. I used to visit this place in 1992. Glad it still exists.. Will visit again in my trip to London next month!! The quality was excellent then. Seems nothing has changed!!