At the heart of Percy’s Aeroplane is a bright yellow La Marzocco Linea PB; and much like a pilot- head barista/owner Alex Jiang is the soul of this Kew café. Originally opened by Wes Lim, Percy’s Aeroplane was named after a World War 2 pilot who lived in Kew. A vintage model plane hangs above the backdoor as a nod to the great man who inspired the venue’s name. Since taking over a year ago, Alex preserved this historic symbolism, whilst also giving the café’s interior a fresh lick of paint, and spruced it up with lots of bright yellow tones.
I became fascinated with how colour influences perceptions while completing my honours in Psychology, especially the colour yellow. Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, yellow is uplifting, promotes happiness, and is associated with pleasurable experiences. Walk into Percy’s Aeroplane, and that’s exactly how you feel. It’s both rustic, full of life and the high ceilings allow for an airy feel. Don’t let the view from the front window deceive you- the venue extends through to a back dining area, and outdoor courtyard. Week days sees it filled with office workers from nearby offices, while foodies and locals make the trek to this High Street spot on weekends, sharing their most ‘instagrammable’ meals.
Coffee is roasted by Zest, with their Supreme blend in the hopper as the house blend. It’s made up of beans from Guatemala, India, and Papua New Guinea, to give a rich full flavour. Alex has found this blend works best with both milk and soy, which is what the majority of his customers consume. “I have used several blends before, but none have worked this well with soy milk”, he said. It’s one for the vegans, and those who may be lactose intolerant, but not quality and flavour intolerant. I may be a black coffee drinker, but I do appreciate some people have dietary needs, and if a café takes that into consideration when deciding on a house blend, they have my respect. As a latte, it was silky smooth with chocolate hazelnut tones, while as a long black its full body shone, and bakers’ chocolate notes prevailed. Pour Over, Chemex, and Cold Drip options are also available, but Alex does admit most customers are milk based coffee drinkers.
Their menu is a fusion of flavours from the traditional western style, and both Asian and African ingredients. It’s conveniently split into Simple, Classic, and Comfort options, again reflecting the cafes mission to cover all based. Simple dishes are just that- modest servings of Sourdough toast, Organic muesli, and Almond milk porridge as a vegan alternative. Popular classics include the Baked Shuska; Roasted thyme & garlic infused mushrooms served on smashed avo & multigrain toast with dukkah; and the gluten free Mr Percy, which is a potato rosti topped with bacon, avocado, a poached egg, and spicy chipotle sauce. For those who like something indulgent, then look no further than the ‘comfort list’. Favourites include the Pulled Pork Benedict smothered in apple cider hollandaise with crunchy pork crackling; Matcha Hotcakes sandwiched between a Nutella Brioche donut and whipped cream.
“Time flies when you’re having fun”. Five years on, and Percy is flying into the future, taking us all along for the journey.
96 Denmark Street