My first job when I moved to London was Assistant Manager of a small card shop in Kings X. The station has undergone so many nips and tucks in the last decade, I can barely work out where the shop - a glorified cupboard with an epos system - used to be. But even the massively tarted up Kings Cross Station Empire still has an arse end, and this is where the grab n run Caffe Piro sits, sandwhiched between a Macdonalds and Nandos. It’s picturesque view is of a busy road, tourists on the verge of being mowed down and an electronic sign flashing ADVANCE WARING MAJOR WORKS or the message that should be on every TFL service: EXPECT DELAYS.
The Caffe (two Fs) is clearly some kind of pet project, both twee and failingly minimal. The aim for clean classy design is betrayed by the use of Comic Sans on the menu, otherwise they would’ve succeeded - the tiles and smaller details are quite nice. The menu is simple and surprisingly cheap - a bacon sarnie for £2.50 must pull in some regulars, and they have everything from tubs of blueberries to foccaccia baps to please all the office angels in the area. Their distinctive dish seems to be the Polish sausage curly baggette, and the only other concession to a national identity is a large poster of a hamlet in a lush green valley - which looks Austrian to me.
There is a morning rush of customers, then I’m left typing on my own. There is no music, which would only have to battle over the sound of traffic, and there are atleast six ineffective looking security cameras. A bunch of American backpackers have a loud debate about wether to have breakfast here or in Macdonalds (they leave for the latter). The cashier hand polishes the apples with a tea-towel.