When my boys were small we spent hours and hours in the playground at the bottom of Primrose Hill. Undaunted by any rain or cold weather, Mr iLPH and I spent many a happy hour with the boys doing the things small children do while we did the things the parents of small children do, namely play with them, watch from a distance, chat with other adults and hanker after coffee.

How thrilled the current crop of parents must be that the Cafe in the Park has recently opened.

For the purposes of this review, I took along one of those boys of mine, now rather more grown up. There seemed to be a symmetry.

The cafe is situated where the toilets and once were – and worry not, they have simply been relocated round at the back – and opens into the playground where there used to be a hut-like shelter. You can access it from the playground, by the door that leads straight in or at the window which is set up for ice-cream sales. If you’re there without children, the main door is round on the outdoor gym side. There are also some outside tables on that side which I am sure will become popular with dog-walkers, as dogs must be left outside.

I was expecting crowds of parents and small children making the most of the warmth, snacks and coffee. In fact, the cafe was fairly empty at 10.30 on an unprepossessing Sunday morning in January, although the playground was buzzing with earnest activity. Other patrons seemed to be without children and had the air of people stopping off while passing through on a walk.

It’s a Benugo cafe so the offering is fairly standard: pastries, bagels, wraps, fruit in plastic pots. I was hoping for something more heartening and brunchy, maybe porridge to warm up, some imaginative vegan breakfast items, perhaps some soup; in the event, my son had an almond croissant which he liked but was nothing to write home about, and I had a smoked salmon bagel which was fine but didn’t seem to have been made with the requisite attention. The cream cheese was the meanest smear possible and the smoked salmon was rather tired-looking. My cappuccino was fine. However, I would say that care was taken to check the allergens list when I mentioned my allergy, which is always a good sign. And it’s still early days so let’s hope for something to lift the heart and warm the cockles as they get into their stride. The fresh, modern look of the place is certainly exactly as it should be.

Currently the cafe is open Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays only, 8am – 4pm.

We spent £9.05 on an almond croissant, a smoked salmon bagel and a cappuccino.

© 2020 Joanna Reeves, all rights reserved.

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