City Càphê is a bit of an institution in the City of London. Renown for the massive lunch-time queues, speedy service and toothsome scent it exhales into Ironmonger lane. Friends tell me the food is always fresh and constantly good.
I say friends, because before last week I'd never visited City Càphê. Most of the week I attempt to not eat meat and there's a perfectly good Pret seconds from the front door at work that does mushroom risotto soup and avacado wraps, which is all I want really when your lunch usually consists of five minutes getting food and ten minutes of eating at your desk.
The menu at City Càphê is slender, like Dirty Burger that's probably because everything on it is close to perfect, so you won't need a hundred options. Unfortunately the vegetarian end of the menu is nothing but shallow. Ankle-deep in options, I managed to find a lemongrass tofu Bánh mì (baguette) and vegetarian spring rolls between all the meats, which totalled just shy of £8.
You could fit the restaurant's seating space (which is constantly snaked by those queuing for food) into your shirt-pocket, so I ate back at my desk. It's definitely not a place you'd take a client to sit down and chat with over lunch.
The food? Delicious. Vietnamese fillings in a French baguette is a gold medal idea. The bread itself has a slight crunch to the crust, the cold tofu was full of flavour and the space between the two were full of pickled carrot, chilli and coriander. The rolls aren't buxom though, so I grabbed some vegetable and tofu spring rolls to help fill some space. They were right on the borderline between crunchy and soggy, but won brownie points when combined with the dipping sauce, which tasted close to fish sauce but without containing fish.
I'm pretty sure City Càphê will be a regular lunchtime haunt now. If anyone reading this has any vegetarian recommendations around bank, I'm all ears!