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Cafés and Coffee Shop Guide

Star Rating

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Café Rio

85, High Street
London E17 7DB

Web site

Café Rio is primarily a coffee shop but the jewel in the crown is the venue itself. The tables and chairs at the front of the café were some of the first seen on the market and have helped to give the High Street it's burgeoning continental pavement café culture.
On entering the tastefully furnished café your visual receptors are struck by the many plaques, photographs, posters and other interesting artifacts that adorn the walls. There is a small counter at the rear where coffee and other comestibles are prepared, graced by a resplendent silver antique cash register.
You could be fooled into thinking that this area was all that Café Rio had to offer but if you were to wend your way around behind the counter you would find another space equally tastefully decorated.
Now look to your right and there is a door that leads outside – and here is the real surprise. The large outdoor area is split into three sections that have an appearance and atmosphere that makes you feel as though you have arrived in another country (although it's kind of difficult to say which one). Two of the areas are fully covered and the third is sheltered by high walls and a makeshift roof.
These areas house the remainder of the café's stunning collection of memorabilia and artifacts which have been collected from all parts of the world. It includes a veritable museum of American car registration plates (see picture below). Another interesting feature is the living tree trunk that divides one of the walls. A good number of patio heaters help to make this remarkable 'garden' feel more of an extension of the café interior.

The café's modest website contains a gallery of photographs featuring some of their most prized items.

Café Rio serves a very good cup of coffee made from beans freshly ground on the premises, plus  baguettes, paninis and cakes for those that are feeling peckish. This is a great, interesting and relaxing place to visit and an oasis of calm in the hectic bustle of the market.

May 09


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