Sweet & Pepper Days
It’s always pleasing to spot a new independent café right near a branch of a corporate coffee chain. I’m not here to bash Starbucks and co: I just think it’s nice to have the choice between a familiar, if nondescript, setting or somewhere that aspires to be unique.
Perhaps that’s why I’m a little disappointed when I walk through the door of Sweet and Pepper Days. Situated on Anglická, it has the potential to be a welcome alternative to the nearby Costa on the corner of Italská. However, this bistro café’s interior reminds me of a branch of Czech furniture store Anglická Sezóna: there’s a sort of muted attempt at country cottage chic which just stops short of being kitsch. It’s not awful but I found it a bit bland.
Still, the huge blackboard above the counter has an impressive range of food options: hot breakfast options include the full English, pancakes and omelettes. For lunchtime visitors there are burgers, soups, salads, a range of sandwiches, and even a gourmet cheddar dog.
Regular readers will know that this reviewer is all about the sweet stuff. Unfortunately for me, desserts aren’t the priority for this new kid on the café block: in the display cabinet at the counter there were only a few cupcakes, a gluten-free chocolate cake and some tarte tatin. I opt for the latter.
I start to get a bit excited when my cappuccino (59 CZK) arrives as my cup seems to be decorated with a black and white panoramic shot of Prague – not the Castle but the National Theatre. On closer examination, however, I realize that I’m mistaken and the building is in fact somewhere in Italy. The coffee itself is small and rather bitter. By contrast, the tarte tatin (59 CZK) – basically upside down apple pie a la Francaise – is gone in a flash. The pastry is obviously homemade and those soft, sweet fruit just melts in the mouth. Delicious.
Once I’ve polished that off, I notice some French pop playing in the background. It’s hard to judge whether this place has much atmosphere or not as I’m the only person here – it is 10.30am on a Thursday though – but at least there’s some attempt to create one. The white and yellow marigolds which brighten up every table help add a cheery feel too. After killing some time watching the world go by along Anglická, I decide it’s time for Round Two. The long-haired middle-aged gentlemen behind the counter is a little surprised when I order another dessert – this time a pecan and chocolate cupcake (49 CZK) – along with my latte (69 CZK). At least I’m keeping him busy in the absence of any other customers.
The latte is massive and as its served in a large glass with no handle it’s hard to consume until I’ve given it time to cool down. By that time, I must confess, the cupcake was history. The addition of pecans was a tasty twist which made it almost as good as the tarte tatin. Indeed, the quality of the food which I have sampled means that I’d definitely like to come back and explore the extensive savory side of the menu. It’s certainly somewhere to consider if you’d like to try a new venue in central Prague for a light lunch. The latte, on the other hand, was a milky non-event: ok but unnecessarily large, especially when compared to the cappuccino I’d had earlier.
First impressions can be deceptive. While I might not have fallen head over heels for Sweet and Pepper Days the second I stepped in the door, by the end of my visit it had won me over. Although indie cafés in Vinohrady may already be ten a koruna, if Sweet and Pepper’s main menu matches up to the quality of the desserts in terms of the quality of ingredients and overall flavour, it has every chance of success.
Sweet and Pepper Days
Anglická 19, Prague 2
Brand of coffee: House blend
Serves food: Yes
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