There are literary winks and nudges a-plenty at this cosy spot, a 2015 addition to the celebrated Shakespeare and Company bookshop. The shelves are stocked with cookbooks, literary classics and second-hand novels, a loaf of Catcher in the Rye bread sits on the counter while a lattice-topped Love and Squalor fruit pie nudges up against a more prosaic lemon tart. At teatime – wait for it – Proust’s madeleines are warm from the oven.
The short menu of soup, salads and sandwiches (€5.50 to €9.50) has been put together by the good folk at Bob’s Bake Shop: expect home-made bagels, smoothies and juices (€4 to €6.50), Postcard Teas and Café Lomi coffees (€2.50 to €4.50), and tasty vegetarian and vegan options, alongside sweet treats (€2.50 to €5) including good ol’ American desserts such as pecan pie, and healthy cups of gluten-free crumble and chia pudding. A small cooler holds locally brewed Deck & Donohue craft beers and Sassy ciders from Normandy; on a blustery day, the hand-written specials board listed a home-made hot ginger lemonade.
Our lunch came served on tray liners printed with the Proust Questionnaire – (“1. What is your present state of mind?” Hungry.) Our simple bagel sandwiches (kale pesto, avocado, alfalfa sprouts and carrot on the one had, thick slices of comté and honey mustard on the other) (€8) were well put together, and toasted on request. Afterwards baked cheesecake, (€5) a brownie (€3.50) and slick espressos.
It’s not quite a place for lingering in, given the near-constant queue of customers angling for one of the few small tables inside. But on warmer days, the large sharing tables on the front terrace can welcome plenty of al fresco drinkers and diners.