Update: Sadly, this wonderful cafe closed its doors on 17 July 2016. A huge loss!
Dear lorrrrrd in heaven, I have found a little slice of paradise in Crystal Palace – a cafe called Boyce da Roca. It serves up THE most heavenly cakes, toasties and brunches known to all SE Londoners. Its coffees are as smooth and as rich as silk. No, really, I am not exaggerating, as I can be a right old fusspot. I have been trying to get my fat preggo ass through the door of this cafe as often as possible, and have always had such a lovely time, whether I’m sneaking a rare moment alone or risking brunch with my boisterous daughter.
Boyce da Roca (which also has a branch in Streatham) takes up one half of the space at the local vintage and curiosity shop Bambino, which sits at the Crystal Palace Park end of Church Road. A very friendly chap called Mark Boyce took over the space left behind when Ant, the barista hotshot running Bambino Coffee left for pastures new. I was nervous – would the coffee match up to Ant’s uber-exacting standards? It’s quite tricky getting a decent brew in Crystal Palace, and Ant’s coffee had given us all hope of a brighter dawn. Happily the coffee here definitely does pass muster, so we can all relax now, ha! #middleclassdilemmas
Mark has done wonders with the shop space, filling it with beautiful mismatched vintage 50’s furniture and stunning Victorian shop shelving. I swoon over the Formica tables and novelty milk jugs. Everything has personality – a world away from your faceless Costa coffees and Nero’s. There is no wifi yet – hurrah!
And the food. Well, where does this carb-loving monster begin? We can talk about the cakes first. An ex pastry chef for Ottolenghi bakes them, no less. Need I say much more? Except that they are all supremely amazing. They are clearly made with lots of butter and the frosting on each one is never too sweet. Behold…
A crap unfocussed photo of the chocolate and Guinness cake. Rich and decadent: smoky chocolate and stout flavours in a fudgy sponge, with a cream cheese frosted top. Mnngggghhhhh:
Parsnip cake with maple frosting – caramelly, fudgy deliciousness.
Toasted sandwiches are my benchmark of any decent establishment – and this ham and cheese one was a thing of beauty: pleasingly hefty slices of sourdough bread brushed with butter, oozing punchy cheddar and good quality ham. Side salad was thankfully free of raw onion (my pet hate) and dressed with something delightfully lemony and fresh:
Poached eggs on sourdough toast with spinach and bacon. Everything was perfect and a generous size. I hate brunches where you leave wanting lunch!
Brunch toastie containing sausages, bacon, roasted tomatoes – a hefty slab of comfort:
Gorgeous, gorgeous coffee from local roastery Volcano Coffee.
Ooh: cute cow jugs! Ha ha! Great iced coffee, too:
Mark is super accommodating – and even when the cafe is full to the gunnels, his staff are unfailingly lovely and chipper. They even tolerate children and babies. They must be saints!
The only fault I can find, to be honest, is that this cafe isn’t open seven days a week – currently they open their doors from Wednesday to Sunday. But to be honest that’s probably better for my health otherwise I’d be supersized by now, beating their door down with my pudgy fists for another slice of their chai spiced bundt cake…or their hefty slices of buttery toasted sourdough…
Boyce da Roca
19-21 Church Road
London SE19 2ET