Review: Coffee Loft, Thornton Heath

By - Tuesday 21st November, 2017

Part café, part Italian restaurant, with a really friendly vibe

Time from West Croydon station: 10 minutes  64, 198, 250, 109, 289, 60

1 Thornton Road CR7 6BD

Photo author’s own.

It’s been a while since there has actually been a pond at Thornton Heath Pond, and in spite of the allure of the bus garage and the venerable Jeffrey and Collard with its selection of new and second-hand tools, it’s hardly a destination in itself. Also the vicinity has long been something of a desert for those looking for lunch, or just coffee and a sandwich, notwithstanding the presence of Tandoori Corner with its excellent takeaway food and the recent opening of KFC for those who somehow pass up the plethora of genuine and fake Morley’ branches.

Located in Thornton Road a few steps from the pond itself, Coffee Loft fills both gaps at once. Rather inconspicuous and in need of a pavement sign to draw more attention given that the off-peak red route parking bays allow thirty minutes free parking, the café is perfect for those wishing to make a coffee stop the civilised way, sitting at a bar or table, forsaking paper cups and in-car cup-holders.

Photo author’s own.

The decor is Scandi-white and plain, so its Italian theme comes as a bit of a surprise. The emphasis is on doing a few things really well, so there’s a limited number of freshly-cooked options every day, along with panini, salads, soups, pastries and beverages. Ingredients are seasonal and organic where possible.

My companion chose penne arrabbiata and described it as pleasant though a little one-paced, perhaps needing a extra touch of fire. My gnocchi alla sorrentina was as promised, the tomato sauce with mozzarella and basil adding a delicacy to the dish. I’d have enjoyed it more with a glass of red wine, but I did have to get back to work in the afternoon.

Our coffees were decent and there’s a real sense of community here, with people dropping in and greeting each other. Owner and founder Lino Marchese makes everyone welcome and table games are available for those who’d like to play. When so much traffic is so close it’s sometimes difficult to really relax, but he’s made Coffee Loft a quiet oasis to chat, read, get some work done, watch the world go by – and also have a very nice lunch. As fellow Citizen contributors, my companion and I have always got a lot to discuss and we’ll definitely meet there again. It’s a really welcome addition to the area.

Photo author’s own.

Ian Marvin

Ian Marvin

Ian is a product designer who moved to the borough in 2003. His interests in all things Croydon stretch from being on the committee of the Constructing Excellence Croydon Club to active membership of the Croydon Clandestine Cake Club. During the day he works on his interior lighting businesses which are also based in Croydon. In the unlikely event that he has any leisure time, he enjoys creating ceramic pieces and playing bass guitar. Any opinions expressed here are personal.

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