Thursday 10 September 2009

Sentosa Art Cafe - Ranelagh

I'm not sure if anyone would really need to ask me what my favourite month was, but if they did I would probably say September. It's a month where you would fully expect it to rain, but not feel too grumpy about it. It is, after all, autumn. (That said, the ancient Celtic calendar has autumn starting on the 1st of August. The 1st of August!!!) But it is the fact that September is often sprinkled with beautiful days that I appreciate the month so much. Today was one of those days. A fresh cool start to the morning that soon warmed up to very agreeable temperatures and a cloudless blue sky that was worthy of a pair of shorts.

All this to say that this evening, in the dying minutes of sunshine, the golden light bid me to come out and have a bit of a ride around the streets on my bike. I soon found myself cycling through the back streets of Rathmines and into the neighbouring urban village of Ranelagh. As I cycled up the main Ranelagh thoroughfare I made a point of glancing around for a cafe that I hadn't been to, but had received a tip off about. It soon jumped out at me.

Sentosa Art Cafe, which opened in the spring of this year, is part of the Sentosa Art and Home company whose focus is on "bringing colour into your home". This was clearly evident in their cafe. Bright coloured sofas of varying prints and designs spaciously laid out, high-key lighting, and large, vibrant pieces of artwork that they hope can be transferred from their walls to yours. My favourite feature was the front 'wall' on to the busy street. It is floor to ceiling windows that force you to look in as you are passing, and a wide, open door that makes the entrance easy.

I got the impression that a high proportion of people who frequented the place where women. The magazine rack with nothing but 'Women's Interests' publications was a bit of a give away. The people at MummyMaps have narrowed it down further to mothers with buggies. Big double buggies!

The only thing I found disappointing about the cafe was, ummm, the coffee. (And maybe that Q102 was providing the soundtrack).

Unfortunately, as I find myself slipping more and more into coffee snobbery, I now make a point of watching how my coffee is made, if at all possible. Partly to critique and partly to learn. So I couldn't help noticing that, for my latte, after the shot of espresso was pulled the barista simply touched the side of the milk jug to check the temperature and then went ahead and just poured the milk into my cup despite the fact that there wasn't someone just ahead of me in the queue. Immediately this made me think of two outcomes. Either the latte was going to be cold or if it was hot enough that would be the result of overheating the milk in the first place for whomever the previous customer was. On tasting I discovered it was the latter option. The milk was burnt.

Never mind, I thought. I'll have another go around and try an espresso. Another disappointment I'm afraid. On two accounts. Firstly, the double-shot of espresso was served in a mug. A mug!!! The only redeeming feature of which was that I could get my nose right into it to get a good sniff of the aroma. It was quite bright and fruity which I thought (whether purposeful or not) went well with the decor of the cafe! But then I sipped it and burnt my tongue - thereby rendering the tasting of it pretty redundant. However, because I have a somewhat reserved nature (most of the time) I didn't make any mention of serving an espresso way too hot. Instead I just quietly wondered how I was going to drink half a mug full of espresso and then cycle home with it sloshing around in me!

However, dear reader, don't let this put you off visiting Sentosa Cafe if you are ever in the area. It seems like a great space to meet, work or read. They are open until 10:30pm on weekdays and 9:00pm on weekends so I have no doubt that I'll return for a longer visit next time. I just happen to think that they could craft their coffee to a higher standard as an extension of the artwork they are trying to sell.


Snot Head said...

Burnt milk? I am learning a lot about how my lattes should taste here. I wish I knew more. Maybe you could do some sort of educational post on brewing a good latte or even a decent espresso. I would like to know what to look for because I have no idea how to make espresso or a latte. Just an idea. Hope to learn soon. :)

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