Foster’s Cafe

10, Old Dover Road, SE3

Sodding Blogger is playing up again this morning, refusing to let me load photos, so I thought I’d fall back on a little cafe at the Blackheath Standard that I’m rather fond of.

Despite its name, Fosters is run by an Italian family (or at least it always has Italian staff when I’m in there and there are a selection of touristy plates on the wall with relief pictures of the Tower of Pisa. The Phantom is nothing if not observant…) It’s not as funkliy retro as Gambardella round the corner – the walls are plain white with the woodwork picked out in a strange dusky-puce; the tables and chairs are in that varnished pine that was popular in the 70s and 80s, but I like it just as well as the last-decorated-in-the-50s Gambardella.

The guy who runs Fosters has a bit of the retro about him himself, kitted out in a little cotton cover-all dust jacket and, since the smoking ban, often to be seen taking a sneaky break outside, chatting to passers-by. He disapproves of my coffee choice. The ritual goes like this: I ask for an Americano; he purses his lips and looks at me with all the disgust he can muster at this abomination of the Italian language. He asks if I’m sure I really want it “weak and black.” I say yes. He shuffles off with a pitying look for such a feeble Phantom.

It’s worth the discussion though. It’s good coffee, done with a proper espresso machine. The range of food is very definitely ‘caff’ – and it’s usually very munchable. I am a bit of a fan of their 85p toasted teacakes, but the cooked stuff’s good too. They also have a small range of Italian deli-type stuff – amaretto biscuits, pasta, the odd tin of anchovies etc for purchase as you leave.

Between this one and Gambardella? Not much in it. Depends on how much you like 1950s vintage decor, I guess…

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