Our recent trip to check out the gardens in Bonnington Square left us sorely in need of refreshment â€“ and fortunately the area is very well endowed on the catering front. On this occasion we chose to get our caffeine fix at Italo, a bustling, fragrant and by all accounts popular deli-cafe which kind of spills out on to the pavement when the weather is warm enough.
The place is run by a pedigree partnership of the Di Lieto family, who ran Di Lieto in Stockwell for over 20 years, and Charlie Boxer, erstwhile novelist and closet foodie (and, incidentally, father of Frank, of Frankâ€™s Campari Bar fame). As corner delis go, this place has got it all: piles of beautifully packaged bits of Italy (with quite a lot from other bits of the Med thrown in), a great range of hot home-made foods and general lunch fodder, cheeses, salamis, and hand-crafted cakes. But it is the smell of coffee which entices and domninates â€“ and jolly good coffee it is too.
The coffee is Caffe Dolce, a fairly exclusive blend being offered at just a few London outlets. Our expresso was a full and manly affair, with a pleasant nutty aftertaste. None of that weird fruitiness that you get with some coffee. All in all Italo is definitely worth a detour next time you swing by the Oval or are Vauxhall bound.
Italo is at 13, Bonnington Square SW8 1TE, and is open Monday â€“ Friday, 9.30am â€“ 7.45pm, and Saturdays from 9.30am to 2pm. Tel: 020 7450 3773.