Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 24th 2013
No one would blame you for cheating on an old crumpet
Crepe Affaire, Wimbledon
Last year a little bakery that had been on the corner of Wimbledon Broadway closed down. I was by no means surprised. In fact, I was more surprised to find how quickly new residence was taken up. Earlier this year, Crepe Affaire opened its doors to hungry travellers looking for a takeaway or short pitstop. The playful font and cute heart above the door, made the cafe look inviting, and friendly and I told myself that one day I would stop in to eat there.
A few months ago, I went to their website, which offered a voucher if you signed up to their newsletter. Always on the prowl for a good deal, I signed up (with the intention of unsubscribing as soon as my voucher arrived). The voucher entitled me to a 'buy one crepe, get a lemon crepe free'. So here I was with this voucher, with every intention of using it. Months later, the voucher is still in my wallet, untouched, and with an expiry date looming. The threat of wasted opportunity gave me the kick up the backside I needed, and so the other day, while in town, I made my way to Crepe Affaire.
Since I had been on their website to look at the menu, I already knew what I wanted. The Omega 4: tuna, sweetcorn, and cheese. But then, when I looked on the menu stuck on the front door, I spotted some additional options I hadn't seen online. This included the Pesto Mushroom. Damn. I'd arrived with such certainty about what to have, and then I find myself spoilt for choice again. It's a tough life, isn't it?
Crepe Affaire's range is very extensive; crepes start from £3.30 for a Cinnamon Crunch to £5.95 'I'll Have What She's Having (strawberries, chocolate, and cream); you can also add extra toppings starting from 50p. Amongst the savoury crepes, there are meat, vegetarian, and breakfast options, Breakfast crepes are served all day long, but are on special offer until 11.30am. So if you feel like starting the day with sausage, bacon, and eggs, but don't have time to sit down for breakfast, a takeaway crepe solves all your problems.
Not a crepe kind of person? Crepe Affair also do ice cream and Belgian Waffles such as the Banana Split, Amazing Apple, Candid Canadian, and Wimbledon Waffle.
Crepe Affaire emphasise how wholesome their food is. Their crepes are made with organic flour, free-range eggs, and fresh ingredients. Their orange juice is freshly squeezed on the spot too.
Perhaps a little too snug?
After blocking the entrance for several minutes while looking at the menu, I finally made my decision to have a Pesto Mushroom crepe with cheese. Usually I prefer to eat in rather than take away, but Crepe Affaire is a very tiny cafe. There were a couple of places to sit, but for me, it was too close for comfort; knocking elbows with the next door neighbour is not my idea of fun.
My crepe is cooking
I therefore decided on a takeaway, which is significantly cheaper than eating in. My crepe would have cost £4.40, but was reduced to £3.65. I also got my free Mellow Yellow on top of that, so not a bad deal. I was asked whether I wanted my takeaway in a box or in a holder; I think it is great that you are given this option. It means you can either eat on the go, or take the food home. I asked for the box, and watched as my crepes were made.
Pesto Mushroom Crepe
Although making the crepes is very quick, I did feel a bit awkward waiting, simply because there is nowhere to stand and wait without being in the way of other customers. I was glad when I was able to get outside, and just as I was about to go to the bus stop, I realised that the cafe had tables outside. Perfect. I got to sit down, and get a takeaway price. First I had my Pesto Mushroom, which was the first savoury crepe I have ever had. Now I'm a complete convert. Savoury all the way. It must have been the best crepe I have ever tasted - a big improvement from the crepe van outside Wimbledon Library. Those tended to be dry and tasteless without a filling, but the ones from Crepe Affaire were soft and moist. The juiciness was definitely helped by the pesto sauce. At first I wasn't sure if the addition of cheese might make the two a bit sickly together, but they worked together beautifully, and the mushrooms were cooked to perfection.
The only problem I suffered from was sticky fingers syndrome. The napkin they provide you with is as flimsy as tissue paper, which as you can imagine, is pretty useless when facing oily food. I did not have that issue with the Mellow Yellow, though. I was quite surprised at how little juice escaped from this lemon crepe. I later figured out that it was because unlike most lemon pancakes that are sprinkled with caster sugar and doused in lemon juice, this was spread with lemon infused butter and a sprinkle of icing sugar. That made the filling thicker and less runny. That makes it a good takeaway option, but I still prefer the traditional version.