If I had to personify Sabio Infante Gracia, I would compare it to a Labrador, a young one. Cheerful to the point of contagion.
The space is filled with mismatched furniture making it look more like a jumble sale than a café. You can choose to sit on a creaky bamboo patio furniture or a hard backed school chair from the 1970’s. I want the table with the red patterned lino tablecloth.
There are turquoise accents all around the room echoed in the turquoise coffee cups.
The day I am there, there is a young Scottish barista. I think Scots have a special knack for hospitality. One of my best friends is a Scot. I met him when he was head of Guest Relations and I was a mere receptionist at a 5* hotel in London. (Yes, I have had a go at almost every job there is – it makes me an expert on everything and nothing.) She waits on the tables, switching from the trilling tones of a Scot speaking English to charmingly accented Spanish. Her coffee skills are good. So good that I order another coffee.
For a time now, I’ve been avoiding avocados and as a result avocado on toast. It turns out that all this clamoring for avocados on toast is contributing to deforestation in Mexico. (It appears there is nothing we can eat without causing irreparable harm to the planet’s ecosystem besides insects.) But today, I put that aside and order one. A full slice of sourdough, thick spread of avocado, rocket, beetroot sprouts and some sweet slow roasted tomatoes. I deem it worth the transgression.
There are a lot of young people on chunky black laptops (for the Mac users, you have to go into the Born or Sant Antoni). Two men order another round of coffees. “Really?” the barista exclaims “How do you manage to sleep at night?” I check my watch, it’s 11:45, I wonder how long they have been here, on their laptops?
The space lends itself to a creative linger. You can click-clack away at your keyboard and when that inevitable idea lull occurs, you can look up and let your eyes wander and settle on the odd mismatched objects. The antique doll, the old red tv, the gorilla holding its breasts: curiosities with no purpose beyond punctuating your day with a spot of mirth.
Sabio Infante means wise child, the cafe’s slogan is ‘small escape’, a neat encapsulation of what an hour here feels like.