They’ll make you a coffee you can’t refuse

City Snacks, London, (Bloomsbury)

Wander around Holborn looking for a coffee and you might never get further than the myriad Starbucks and Costas on High Holborn. Which is a pity. Because just five minutes’ walk away, around the corner on Theobalds Road, there’s a really good cup of coffee waiting for you.

From the outside it’s an unassuming and rather ordinary cafe. Inside it’s 1970s Italian American kitsch. The walls are adorned with film posters of Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, who rub shoulders with adverts for Lavazza coffee. Panettone boxes hang from the ceiling.

There’s a stainless steel coffee machine on the counter. It makes excellent coffee, as I discovered one morning when The Italian steered me through the front door of the place. Formica topped tables with bench seats are arranged in a higgledy-piggledy fashion to make good use of all the space. Shelves are crammed with bags of coffee and Bialetti coffee makers. There’s a refrigerated display of sandwich fillings and pastries. At lunchtime the place gets really busy with people queuing for ciabatta, focacccia, rolls or baguettes. Popular sandwiches include Genovese chicken, salt beef, mustard and dill, chicken pesto and avocado and tuna Parmigiana.  Along with the sandwiches there’s pasta, of course, take your pick from lasagne or spaghetti Napoli, Bolognese or Carbonara. The Italian can testify as to how good they all are.

City Snacks is a family-run business, Mama stuck her head round the counter to smile ‘hello’. The Italian got into an Italian rap with Mauro the owner about Italian back home stuff while I nursed a rather good double espresso.

Apparently City Snacks is a favourite spot for stars of screens both large and small who live locally. Who knows who could be sitting in the corner when you pop in for a cappuccino? Mauro did let slip the names of two or three who come in, but we’re way too discreet to repeat them here.

City Snacks

29 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8SP

020 7242 5912

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