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Royal Teas Vegetarian Coffee Shop and Cafe Review, Greenwich
WHEN looking for an alternative place to grab a takeaway, there aren’t that many veggie venues in Greenwich.
Royal Teas Vegetarian Café and Coffee Shop is tucked away down Royal Hill, hidden behind an unassuming shop front.
In keeping with appearances, I ordered modestly: a tasty foot-length Mediterranean vegetable and pesto baguette (£3.75), fruit-packed smoothie (£1.60) and wedge of lemon cake (£2.00) with door-stopping capabilities.
Growing up in Brighton, with its abundance of slick, upmarket vegetarian eateries, I was initially surprised at the café’s slightly scruffy, higgledy-piggledy demeanour.
The uneven walls are roughly coated in blackish purple, the food is simply presented and the service is perfectly friendly but not ... polished, perhaps.
The café spills over two rooms with the front space crammed with vintage tins and jars of loose-leaf teas and coffee beans.
A set of traditional scales completes the old worldly shop feel. Local artists’ paintings and lively notice boards break up the heavy plum decor and lend to the community sense of the place.
The menu is perfect for a lazy brunch complete with coffee, herbed eggy bread and Spanish-style eggs, or a lingering teatime visit.
If you thought veggie food was only for those of meagre appetite, try the hearty nachos, the "American" spicy bean, fried egg and cheese tortilla (I learnt too late that this could be wrapped up to be taken away), or add a smoked salmon offering to any of the dishes.
The cake selection summed up my overall impressions.
I surveyed the large, rotund, no-frills display - not a sniff of an expertly-crafted cupcake in sight - and misjudged them.
They looked unenticing, a little dry.
But the lemon cake I sampled was drenched with flavour and made me question the need for fancy icing or a seductive name.
FOOD (****) Tasty, satisfying veggie goodies, coffee and cakes
SERVICE (***) Casual but friendly
INTERIOR/DECOR (****) Alternative, community-feeling den
ADDRESS 76 Royal Hill, Greenwich SE10 8RT