I ARRIVED after the lunchtime rush to find an overworked but charming man seemingly trying to hold the fort by himself in a crowded cafe full of women.

The menu was more limited not as exciting as I’d hoped. I was also concerned by the slim pickings of cake left behind, although this was off-peak so it’s understandable they were winding down.

I had a toasted wholemeal sandwich with French Brie and cranberry sauce sandwich (£4.45) because they’d run out of baguettes.

However, the sandwich was great - with satisfyingly succulent cheese - but would have been more exciting with another ingredient such as smoked chicken.

They’d run also out of the carrot and ginger smoothie so I settled for a freshly squeezed orange juice (£3) which was just the right side of sharp.

There are more interesting options for those eating in including mezze platters and jerk chicken which seemed to suit the crowd well.

For my dessert I chose a Florentine (£1.75), covered with chocolate, which I devoured as walked down Kirkdale Road, and though the surroundings were a bit grey, my taste buds were somewhere in a Parisian patisserie.

It was treacly and gooey and covered with chocolate. What else could you ask for?

The cafe is the little sister of the East Dulwich branch and I do think it suffers by comparison, with a less varied menu.

Overall, however it’s a lovely little place to while away the time over a coffee with a friendly atmosphere but I would advise you visit mid-morning or lunch time to get the most out of the menu.

260 Kirkdale Road, Sydenham, London SE26 4NP

FOOD: **** Very good but limited menu

SERVICE: **** Friendly if a little flustered

INTERIOR/DECOR: ***** Small but very cosy and welcoming