Before Ismail and I venture out to “our” sheesha café at the Park Royal, let me tell you about an idea I’ve had to allow you to participate in the quest too.
Allow me to introduce you to Quest Base Camp. Otherwise known as The Taste of Chamberlayne, a great little café in NorthWest London serving Illy – IMHO the best Italian coffee – with the finest elements of Western Europe and the Middle-East, along with alfresco seating which has pretty flowers in planter boxes adorning its edges. It’s not in France, Italy, Romania, Spain, Iran, Jordan or Syria however – but there are stories about all these places interwoven into its fabric with the people who work here, and the people who come here.
It has a big wide window at the front of the café which allows you to see out onto the street and enjoy watching the people passing by – like you might do on The Continent, or equally on the sidewalks of the places you might visit in the Middle East or North Africa.
Oh, and it has great food too – with hints of the taste from all of the places mentioned above…
For me though, what makes it special is the feeling that this is on a road for people going somewhere, to lands far away and back. I think it has enough space and easygoing customer service – along with the food and coffee, of course – that people would be happy to come here and share their stories from far away, and equally receive one in return.
Indeed, that’s what I want to help happen. The idea being that if you have a story about an unusual café that you want to talk about, and potentially have featured on this blog, then come to “Taste” (as it’s known for short by the locals here) and register your name in the Café Quest Visitors’ Book along with a way to contact you so we can receive and hear or read your a story.
The ideal thing would be to hear what you consider to be an unusual café, and your story about the discovery of it – such as the stories you’ve heard from someone at the café, what food it serves (or perhaps HOW it serves it!), as well as what makes you feel or think that this café is unusual or different to the standard high street café in any small town or big city. It could still be something that makes one of those small town or big city cafés stand out, however – even if they are part of a chain….