There was a time a few months ago when I knew 3 people who I worked with and happened to live less than a 10 minute walk away from Small Talk. Sometimes they’d meet up, (one of them moonlighted a bit to help pay for his wedding), but “will I see you at Small Talk?” became something I would hear week in, week out. I lived around a 35 minute walk away, but nevertheless picked a delightfully sunny day to stroll down.
The first time I went in I was hungover, glasses on my face adjusting to the cool, dark space, desperate for coffee, and feeling very good after a nice solar charge. In not my proudest moment I stared Sam Terrey straight in the eyes, sunglasses still on, pointed at the hot and fresh foccacia right in front of me and asked “hey dude, what’s on the pizza?”. It was evidently not a pizza, but a rosemary and onion pillowy bed of bready goodness. I also got a mortadella roll in a moment of weakness.
Drinking espresso from the coarse feeling cups is really fun. When you stir, you get a really nice textural sound that feels like a 70s mug that took me back to drinking tea at my nans place by the beach and stirring in maybe a little too much sugar. Placing the cups back down on the saucers gives a very definitive clunk, which oddly made me feel like my coffee was extra finished. Wrrrrrrrrrr when you’re stirring, tnnk tnnk when you tap the spoon on the rim of the cup. Clnk!!! When you’re done. Maybe having this cadence is why I always order three coffees back to back to back when I’m there. Or maybe it’s just because they’re always really really tasty.
The second time I went, it was 11am, and I snuck in at the end of a line of teachers from the local school right next door. I eyed a plate of fresh chocolate babkas, and saw them get snapped up one by one until I got to the end of the queue and ordered the same thing I got the day before, three coffees and a mortadella roll. This missing out put me on a mission to try Sam’s pastries whenever humanly possible and set me up for a couple of months of babkas, donuts and even the mythical saussant (croissage?), a sausage wrapped in croissant dough.
There are very few local cafes you can visit regularly that feel as rewarding as Small Talk. It’s not that you can “expect something different every time” or anything like that, it’s more that Sam has got your back. Being in a space that you can feel the creativity blossom, that you can feel the energy of the guy crushing out different snacks every day, that you can visit time and time again and never get bored, because the people working there resist that boredom. It's a shop built from scatch in every aspect and you can really feel that. It’s a really special energy for a cafe to have, and it’s a special energy to be a part of Jimmy xx