Saturday 9 May 2009

Blue Mountain Cafe, North Cross Road, East Dulwich, South London

The striking mosaic on the Blue Mountain Cafe's front terrace draws you into this quite funky and cramped local eatery. The long, narrow dining room's centrepiece is an open and noisy bar, where hot drinks are prepared and served one-by-one by the slightly eccentric and meandering young staff. A large creamy cappuccino costs two pounds and a cafeteria of filter coffee a hefty £3.75, while kids' drinks, such as apple juice, milk or a 'babychino', all cost around one pound. The diverse selection of bottled beers (around three quid each) includes Budvar and Whitstable Bay Organic Ale.

Doorsteps of toast
The food menu includes jerk chicken (£8) - a generous piece of tepid meat in a fairly tame sauce served with some delicious and spicy rice and roasted plantain. Equally filling is the mezze platter (£7), made up of sun dried tomatoes or artichokes, grilled and salty haloumi cheese, a battery of olives, heaps of pitta bread, plus humus and aubergine dips. Among the half-dozen options on the kids menu are some doorsteps of toast with baked beans and egg mayonnaise sandwiches served in thick white bread. But save some room for a slice of one of the sumptuous and plump cakes on prominent display near the door. The Blue Mountain Cafe is understandibly popular with young families and couples and you may struggle to get a table on a Saturday. 7/10