Freelance writer and journalist based in west London.
Published February 18th 2013
Cute Cafe a Hop from Harrods
It's common knowledge that Knightsbridge is synonymous with shopping, as it boasts the world famous Harrods department store, Harvey Nichols and a wealth of other designer boutiques. So if you're laden with bags and looking for a spot to take a break, don't want it to make too much of a dent in your cash reserves but still want homemade food and welcoming service, head for Caffé Fratelli. You'll find it on Beauchamp Place, a pretty, smart street off the bustling Brompton Road and a short walk from Knightsbridge tube station.
There are three small tables outside which are coveted at the first hint of sunshine, perfect for sipping coffee whilst watching the world go by. Inside, customers are presented with a choice of freshly prepared pasta and rice salads, flatbreads, paninis and sandwiches, which are on display in the large counter. Prices range from around £3.95 to £5.95. Options on our visit included mushroom pasta, lasagne, tuna or salt beef sandwiches and a chicken and pesto flat bread.
A second counter houses the selection of sweets, cakes and pastries – think brownies, croissants, quiches and Victoria sponge. The hot drinks menu is written on the board above, cold drinks displayed both on and in a chiller cabinet. Customers are welcome to make their choices and then take a seat if they're eating in, as orders are brought to them when ready. All food is available as a take-away option.
Caffé Fratelli is deceptively spacious; as well as the outside seating, there are stools at the large window and a couple of tables opposite the till. A few steps down lead to a landing area with more tables, a soft, comfortable bench and funky book patterned wall paper. A large skylight makes it a bright and pleasant space.
Further down still into the basement area, a large room contains more tables and chairs which are modern and clean-lined, as well as cosy coves with benches which are great for groups. Floor to ceiling pictures of a London taxi and an old fashion VW Beetle complete the look. A compilation of chart music is played throughout in the background.
A mozzarella, tomato, basil and pesto panini, three-cheese flat bread and a bowl of chicken and red pesto pasta formed our lunch order. All three were heated before being served. You could tell that they'd been freshly prepared and were really tasty. The sandwiches were well filled and generous; the pasta more than enough for two.
I loved this place; it's contemporary in feel and look but the food is homely and it feels like it's lovingly made. The staff wore big smiles, were happy to answer questions about their wares and didn't hassle you to quickly decide what you wanted. It's just right for a quick coffee and cake or a fun lunch with friends.