No, not that River Café. This particular River Café, opposite the entrance to Putney Bridge tube station, is a fine example of that endangered species, the old-fashioned British caff. The focus of the breakfast menu, predictably, is a mix-and-match full English – generously portioned, and very reasonably priced at £3-£5. Lunch is anchored by hearty British classics, including shepherd’s pie, ham, egg and chips, and liver and bacon, all for £5-£6. If you can possibly squeeze in more, apple pie and some tasty Italian puds await.
The real draw, however, is not the food, but the feeling of being in a living museum. The place has a quietly dignified, low-key charm, and the decor – unchanged in decades – is a delight, with beautiful blue and white tiling, seascape murals, plywood panelling and Formica tabletops. Italian proprietor Rob offers a warm welcome to all, from elderly gents parked with the newspaper to the few young hipsters who have discovered this gem. Forget the current retro-revival trend; nothing is as comforting as the real thing – ideally with a bacon and egg butty and a cuppa (two sugars, please).