There’s a whiff of Ottoman bazaar about Boucla cafe’s shadowy and crowded interior, decorated with mosaic bowls, colourful pottery and other knick-knacks. The decor hints at owner Despina Tanner’s family origins – the Greek island of Kastelorizo, just off the Turkish mainland.
Comfort seating it isn’t, with small tables crammed into the narrow space, but comfort eating it most certainly is, with Greek-inspired home-style cooking, coffee and juices.
Despite the squeeze, or maybe because of it, there’s a hospitable charm about Boucla. Family photos on the wall show Tanner’s ancestors – many emigrated from Kastelorizo to eventually open shops along Rokeby Road.
Boucla’s selection of mostly Greek-influenced sweets are baked throughout the day. One standout is the souffra, a filo-encased egg custard dusted with cinnamon and pistachio. Sarah Schwikkard, the original Mrs S of the Maylands cafe, has joined the baking team at Boucla to add her touch to the beautiful selection of cakes.
Cooked breakfasts include egg dishes, such as the shakshuka with spiced tomato and sausage, and muesli and granola options. Later on there’s traditional spanakopita, stuffed eggplant or the Persian slipper – a pastry containing slow-cooked beef, sweet potato, pumpkin and spices.
Otherwise grab something from the rotating selection of fresh salads, wraps and rolls.