The Troubadour can make a claim to be Earl’s Court most famous cafe, not that there is much to compete with in the vicinity. It was a cosy refuge on a dreary wet Wednesday night last week when I went with a few school friends. I hadn’t realised when we arranged to rendezvous there that I had been once before.
It is best known as a music venue, and I’ve heard very good things about it on this count. My singer-songwriter cousin often gigs in the basement area, where many happening artists seem to reside, chilling out with a casual beer in hand, humming through relaxed and melancholic music – well I imagine that’s what it’s like. The place has a nostalgic feel with copper pots and pans hanging lopsided from the ceiling and crooked pictures on the walls, a sort of grubby chic charm.
A troubadour was a composer-minstrel in medieval Europe and that’s where the name originates from. This venue was born in 1954 as part of the second great London coffee craze. We booked ahead to ensure we got a table; it tends to suddenly fill up around 8 pm, even midweek. Ravenous, we squeezed into our table and ordered immediately. An interesting assortment of dishes feature on the menu, from veggie burgers to steak, fishcakes to homemade pasta. We made a pact to try them all, for research! I had the ricotta ravioli, which cost a staggering £14.50, expensive despite its homemade qualities. The pasta was cooked to perfection but unfortunately covered in too much oil making it unpleasantly greasy. Luckily the kind waiter was able to meet my request for more parmesan, and brought a charming little potful free of charge. My friend’s dishes were enjoyable but didn’t quite meet expectations considering the high prices. The chips and sweet potato wedges were very good and provided us with grazing food as we continued to natter away. Alongside our meal a good bottle of white wine was reasonably priced.
This is a great little venue, and has real character. I’ll definitely be coming back for drinks and maybe a gig, but won’t be trying the food again.