Visited on Piccadilly Street, London
London is a true haven for coffee lovers – I think even if I had lived here, I would have struggled to visit all the coffee shops it has on offer, and discover the gems among them. Instead, as a tourist – ironically – you tend to end up going for the most convenient high street options when in need of a quick fix.
Thankfully, in London “high street cafe” does not only mean a Caffe Nero or a Starbucks, as there are plenty of other chains in the capital – one of them being Caffe Concerto.
De Pierre, despite the different name, is part of the franchise – if you had visited Concerto before, this becomes obvious once you cross its doors (particularly if, like myself, you visited both within two consecutive days): the massive chandeliers, burlesque-like decor and smart-uniformed staff cannot be mistaken for anywhere else.
And neither can the menu. They were pretty much identical in the two places, with only a slight difference in price for the breakfast specials; the coffees were priced the same, and worryingly (for some reason I did not see that as promising) expensive.
The staff – albeit only two of them taking and delivering orders in a pretty crowded cafe – were bravely smiling and assisting customers with their requests, and apologising for even a small wait. As I sat down, I was quickly attended to, and ordered my scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a mocha.
The coffee arrived first, so I could start to appreciate it fully on an empty stomach before the ample and delicious breakfast arrived, minutes later. The appearance of it was rather pleasing, considering the layers of chocolate, coffee and milk, albeit the top layer looked a bit too frothy, which got me a bit worried. However, I gave the whole thing a stir and took a sip… and it was truly lovely. The smooth concoction was sweet and punchy, and of the perfect drinking temperature.
I went through my breakfast before finishing the last drops of it, feeling very fulfilled and ready to face a day of exploring in London.
A trip to Caffe Concerto the following day, just two minutes up Piccadilly Street from its sister, was a tad disappointing. The staff seemed tired and disinterested, and it took a while before my order was taken – although I have to admit it looked pretty busy. I then easily managed to drink my coffee before the food arrived as, although the drink was still sweet and pleasant on first sip, it was also – for once – just below the right temperature and cooled down further quickly.
Out of the two, Caffe de Pierre is certainly worth recommending, leaving pleasant memories and aftertastes, albeit on a tad expensive side – but, all in all, not bad for a high street chain after all.
Verdict justification: Tasty coffee, magical interiors and attentive staff – certainly worth a shot