The east end of Leonard Street is a hub of small creative businesses: graphic design shops, architect firms, darkrooms etc. And where there is artistic productivity, there is coffee – cue Renzo. Although they’re welcoming to newcomers and have open arms for outsiders, Renzo is basically a hangout for the creatives that live and work nearby. Decorations are handmade by the locals. Loyalty cards made out of bus receipts, tube tickets and scraps of paper are pinned to a cork board for the regulars.
Because of this, unfortunately, the café is only open on weekdays. It’s fairly small, although there is further seating downstairs plus a courtyard for the summer, and the space is filled with bits and bobs (books, cushions, art for sale on the walls) with warm lighting and foliage creating a cosy atmosphere inside. The Alchemy coffee has a bright and fresh flavour with a chocolatey aftertaste which will leave you wanting to order a cup to go as well. When cafes become too polished they often lose their homeliness and appeal – Renzo is rough and ready, just how an independent coffee shop should be. Let’s hope it stays this way.
Review: Jonny Clowes