Just as I thought “Will I ever give anyone less than 4 stars?!” I visited the mysterious I Heart Cafe. I did not Heart it.
As I entered the spacious, bright venue I felt rather inspired; the decor was modern-eco, but in a good way, looking like a great place for a Sunday lunch or a solitary cuppa over a newspaper; there was a poster inviting to a live music event on Friday; there was a fresh-food cabinet and a chalk-written menu offering interesting dishes; there was a wee jar inviting customers to suggest music for their playlist. It all looked very friendly and inviting, and despite some sense of stress behind the bar, I was looking forward to my mocha, especially seeing that they offered a soy option. My order was taken and I was told it would be delivered to my table. So I sat, and observed. For about half an hour…
I watched as dazzled waitresses maneuvered between tables trying to establish whose order they were carrying at the moment; I watched a woman being delivered the wrong coffee twice in the space of 5 minutes; and I watched the same woman who took my order approach me with a notepad and a half-apologetic smile.
‘Soy mocha,’ I said.
‘Oh, yes, that was the one!’ I heard, and waited another 10 minutes or so for the drink to finally arrive to my table. And throughout all this time, there was no more (most of the time less than) 1 person in the queue.
Working in the business myself, I try to be as understanding as possible in such cases, but I felt an overwhelming urge to get up and leave. I couldn’t rank the place without tasting the coffee, however, and my last hopes lay in that long awaited Soy Mocha.
Unfortunately, it did not deliver. There was a sweetness first kicking from the top of the coffee (dusted with chocolate shavings) and from the bottom of the cup, which, however, quickly gave way to an overwhelming bitterness; my guesses: poor quality espresso, not enough espresso in the coffee machine (which led to the shots being watered down) or the shots having waited too long on the side before being mixed with milk and chocolate.
The I ❤ Cafe stickers in the windows replaced the Berits & Brown’s wine-oriented deli sign early this year; Berits had not been opened that long before then itself, and I was rather surprised to see it go, as it did look pretty sophisticated in this particular location (Leith Walk). Some internet browsing tells me I Heart is run by the same ownership as Berits, but I am yet to investigate, what prompted… the change of heart (bad pun, but I hope to be forgiven).
I am not looking to visit the place again, although I take into account that I might have simply been unlucky on this occasion. If you experienced better service, please share; otherwise, I shall sure be keeping my eye on any changing stickers in the windows of this particular venue.