The new and refurbished café on Denmark Street is open all day with a focus on its breakfast offering, while the former Giaconda Dining Room restaurant – which was once a well-known musician hangout - is now housed behind the café.
The venue is still being run by its original founders - husband and wife team Paul Merrony and Tracey Petersen - who have also been involved in London coffee bars Flat White and Milk Bar for the past six years.
Merrony believes there is a gap in the London market for cafés with a good classic breakfast offering. "It’s getting harder to find a central London cafe that just puts the simple back into breakfast," he said. “Yes we’ve got places that do a good breakfast but they do tend to be the larger restaurants where you often have to book, but there’s nothing like enjoying a good cup of tea and an easygoing breakfast where you know the ingredients have been well sourced, without having to worry about all the pomp.”
The breakfast offering at La Giaconda Café includes bacon and eggs, black pudding, avocado on toast, Turkish bread and home-made jam. Merrony’s plat du jour will feature at lunch, along with the likes of Caesar salad and a croque monsieur. In the evening, the chef delivers what he calls ‘plat du soir’, with dishes including steak frites, fish & chips and roast chicken.
The Restaurant, which is now housed in the room behind the café, boasts high ceilings and benefits from plenty of natural light. Rugs and textiles give the room a cosy feel, setting it apart from the adjacent Café.
Petersen believes the new set-up has helped bring back some of the Giaconda’s original ‘hidden gem’ feel that was lacking when the couple expanded the site last year.
“Paul’s cooking was often dictated by what the customers wanted, that’s not how Paul cooks,” she said. “Paul needs to cook for himself and when he does his food excels. Now the restaurant is smaller again, we can do that, Paul can cook what he wants to eat. And in turn we know the customers will enjoy it all the more.”
La Giaconda Restaurant, Café and Bar is now open on Denmark Street.