Wedding dress shopping is tiresome business, so refuelling with a treat lunch out seemed ideal as my mum, sister and I staggered around Hornchurch in a flurry of white, lace and veils. Only a five minute walk from my mum’s front door, we decided to try Café Enzo, a new café on the corner. Having recently changed hands, we were all intrigued to see what had changed and what had remained the same, as we knew some of the conditions of the sale was that the recipes could be handed over to the new owners. With a distinctive Italian coffee shop feel, Café Enzo are trying to strike the right note between high market coffee venue, and cosy catch up spot for the passing mums from the junior school.
Decorated in a musky shade of purple paired with a muted sage green, Café Enzo is understated, yet has a really lovely relaxing and calming vibe; it’s definitely a place where you can feel you can unwind. The seating is split into sections, with large brown leather bucket chairs clustered around coffee tables by the front windows, ideal for groups of friends nattering away over a hot drink, and definitely the perfect place to people watch, with the floor to ceiling windows providing a great outlook onto the pavements outside. There are wooden high tables paired with backless stools for those who just want to hop aboard and grab a quick lunch, and there is also an area further back, with more stool seating against tables that run along the walls, suitable for those who are popping in alone and want to surf the net with something fancier than a cup of PG Tips. A frameless blackboard on the wall proudly states the specials of the day, proving you can get some heartier meals if you so wish, such as the classic Italian special pizza, however the counter also displays an enticingly alluring selection of cakes and cookies that had my fingers twitching for my purse before I’d even decided on what sandwich I was having.
Throwing our coats and bags on some of the leather chairs at the front, we went to the counter to order. I went for the chicken salad sandwich, on brown bread with a cappuccino to drink. I also ordered a yo-yo to have as my sweet treat. These three items came to £7 so a bit pricey just for lunch, but it was good quality. The guy who served us promptly disappeared into the kitchen to make our sandwiches fresh, while a colleague begun making our coffees. We didn’t have to wait long either so that was good, although it was only just pushing gone 12pm, so we were still early for the lunchtime trade.
The cappuccinos came first and these were divine I have to say. The frothy milk on top was so silky and smooth, it really enhanced the coffee; it was also lovingly scattered with coco powder and served with a small caramel biscuit, individually wrapped and thoughtfully placed on the plain white saucer. Knowing a decent coffee when I slurp one, this one rates highly with me. Trying to avoid the gaze of my yo-yo, I was glad when my sarnie arrives. Thickly filled and served on a square plate with a handy paper napkin, I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The chicken was in chunky stripes, snuggled down among lettuce, peppers, onions, tomato and cucumber; as well as lashings of lovely mayo to moisten it. The bread itself was from a sliced loaf, however it was soft and slightly seedy, and just really lovely. The components by themselves were all spot on, so combined it was a delicious sandwich that I thoroughly enjoyed.
As for our naughty afters, the yo-yo was calling me! Two thick slabs of shortbread biscuit acted as a top and bottom for a thick set layer of custard-like filling. With a slight sugary grainy texture, yet a vanilla custard flavour and colour, the filling was a match made in heaven with the crumbly biscuit, which was sweet and buttery, and literally melt in the mouth. Sharing mine with Jess, I licked at leftover crumbs eagerly – waste not want not! Mum had gone for coffee and walnut cake, and though some of the edges were dry according to her report, the cake was still a winner with her, although she was still blissfully happy after her chicken, brie and cranberry Panini.
Ideally located with a nearby college, school and plenty of residents, hopefully Café Enzo will get its fair share of customers. The staff were friendly, eager to please and conscientious so no faults there. The price was pretty average for the fair we received and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food, which obviously used quality ingredients. Hopefully I’ll be popping in again soon!