Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Gambardella - Blackheath, London

*Now Closed*

47-48 Vanburgh Park

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 7.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday 7.00am - 2.30pm
Sunday - Closed

Breakfast served all day

The Gambardella signage has like most of the cafe remained unchanged for decades.

The staff working here are really friendly and seem to be on the go non stop ensuring their customers are kept happy.

The classic panels in the front dining area were magnificent.

The original 1960's tables and chairs in the dining area to the rear were stunning and a very rare sight these days, I loved them!!

There are plenty of set breakfasts to choose from and adding extra items seemed like the best plan.

A classic condiment and sauce set up sat neatly on each table.

 Random cutlery in different sizes.

I forget how much it cost but the Cappuccino was incredibly nice. 

There was plenty of buttered toast and it was served piping hot.

The portions here are huge and the ingredients used are basic.

 A quite frilly looking but nicely cooked egg with plenty of beans.

 You could chose from fresh or tinned tomatos, I prefer tinned.

The mushrooms were tinned and the sausage was not about to win an award for quality.

Having already visited the excellent E.Pellicci and Regency Cafe on previous trips to London I decided to find out what over classic London Cafes still existed. I could have visited numerous places offering award winning sausages and claiming to serve the best breakfast in London but I was looking for somewhere with character and a bit of history, one of those few remaining classic cafes that remain unchanged and still stand the test of time. A bit of research online led me to this article about the Gambardella cafe in Blackheath, I really liked the look of the place so decided that would be the place. I hadn't visited Greenwich for many years and with it being so close to the Gambardella we decided to look around Greenwich after eating breakfast. From Cutty Sark station it was a good 30 minute walk through Greenwich Park and the views across London were amazing. Eventually we spotted the Gambardella towards the end of Vanburgh Park and having built up an appetite from walking we headed inside...

Upon entering - Before walking through the door you are greeted by the classic and original signage above the cafe, through the window you spot the incredible flesh coloured vitrolite wall panels with chrome edging. As you enter immediately to your left is the counter but no need to order here as there is a full waitress service so decide where you are going to sit. The front is tempting with the beautiful vitrolite covered walls but I was drawn to the rear as soon as I spotted the original 1960's moulded plywood revolving chairs and red/black formica covered walls. The back was also quieter so much easier to take photos which I was keen to do straight away. A menu is bought to your table but it will require some looking at with its many breakfast options as most offer no more than 4 items so adding extras seemed quite essential to ensure you get a complete breakfast. Once seated you will not need to leave your seat until you have finished eating as everything is bought to your table including the cutlery and each table has a good selection of sauces and condiments. It feels like you have travelled back in time but the great thing is that this place is original and untouched unlike the many recent 1950's style diners that are popping up everywhere. I felt so pleased that I had decided to visit the Gambardella as there are so few places left like this now and it just looked so amazing and felt so special. 9/10

Service - As soon as you walk through the door you are greeted by the friendly staff. Once you are seated they bring you a menu over and return shortly after that to take your order. I noticed how well they seemed to run the cafe and they were constantly on the go taking peoples orders, bringing food to the tables and clearing them swiftly when people had finished. They all seemed really happy and looked to be enjoying their work and were certainly able to cope really well when it got busy. Once we had placed our order the drinks arrived first along with the cutlery, next the stack of piping hot buttered toast was bought to the table followed by the breakfasts. As you leave simply pay the person on the counter who will bid you farewell with a smile. The staff team at the Gambardella are great at what they do and make you feel really welcome. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 3 bacon, 2 black pudding, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, beans and buttered toast. 7/10

Presentation - The stack of toast arrived well buttered and piping hot followed by the huge plate containing the cooked breakfast. The mass of bacon was covered in a generous splodge of tinned tomatoes, centre stage was a bed of sliced mushrooms with a very cheap looking sausage nestled on top, around this sat a lake of beans, black pudding and a nicely cooked and very frilly fried egg. Certainly a very wet plateful and one that would ensure you would not leave still feeling hungry. 7/10

The food - The sausage was very cheap but at least cooked nicely, it took me right back to days of school diners. The bacon was chunky and tasted good, it went superbly between some buttered toast and dipped into the yolk of the delicious fried egg. The mushrooms were tinned and although mildly enjoyable not a patch on the real thing. The black pudding was fairly standard but cooked nicely and complimented the tinned tomatoes very nicely. The beans like everything else on the plate were piping hot. 7/10

Value for money - The set breakfast with buttered toast, 3 extra items added and a good cappuccino cost around £7. The breakfast was huge, the food was cooked nicely but using basic ingredients and the pleasure of sitting in such an amazingly stunning cafe with excellent service was a real pleasure so it felt like money well spent. 8/10

Veggie option - No

Overall - If it was all about the food then on the surface it would seem like the breakfast at the Gambardella is possibly not worth getting too excited about as it is quite basic and there is not a quality banger to be seen anywhere. The Gambardella though has been serving traditional breakfasts for many decades and although the food is fairly basic you can rest assured it is nicely cooked and served by very friendly staff, piping hot in generous portions. The interior is really worth seeing for yourself as it is becoming a very rare sight at a time where traditional cafes like this are sadly closing down and another Starbucks or Costa is taking its place. I feel sure that the Gambardella will be here for many years to come as it seems really popular and has stood the test of time until now and can offer something that the Starbucks of this world can't offer, character, class and genuinely friendly staff that make you feel special and appear to be really enjoying their work. There are also lots of vintage "style" cafes popping up over the place with some quite convincing interiors but nothing ever beats the real thing and the Gambardella is the real deal so be sure to take a look for yourself, you will be in formica heaven! 8/10

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic place... Long may it remain!! Very well ran Cafe by James and the team!

    The whole are would lose out if this little gem ever decided to close!!!