73 Cricklewood Broadway,
020 8621 4755
Gourmand writes: As far as I can tell, this Polish-run Cricklewood caff has nothing to do with Frankie Valli (note correct spelling) and his group the Four Seasons. There's nothing relating to 60s pop music on any of the walls. Perhaps it's just a coincidence; an owner called Vali naming his cafe after a famous international hotel chain.
Apart from it's complete unrelatedness to 60s pop music, there's little else to say about this friendly cafe. They screened the BBC's Watchdog on a overhead TV screen, a feature Gormless particularly appreciated, and there appeared to be a family playing in the garden at the back, prompting speculation that people lived in the kitchen.
I took a punt at a Polish off-menu order and was rewarded with a delicious pork escalope. It felt and tasted wholesomely meaty and came with a generous portion of mashed potato and a Polish salad (everything pickled). Gormless' jacket potato looked a bit rubbish.
Gormless writes: I often refer to the Beaten Docket immigration debates on this blog. You would be wrong to think they are all petty racism and gloomy sniping. Frequent tribute is paid to Eastern Europeans who come over here with a good set of tools and a work ethic.
A trip to Four Seasons proves that Poles can run a restaurant as well as build things. The café is across the road from Cafe Nur and will provide counter evidence come the next B.D.I.D meet. Indeed, you might say the proprietors have gone too far and effaced their national identity. Gourmand had to make a special request for Polish food as the menu only offered stateless café fodder.
The prominent TV was showing Watchdog, that fine bastion of British petty-mindedness, mock outrage and "no nonsense". I ordered a jacket potato with beans and cheese. It was a good meal and I can only blame myself for not trying to push the operation to see what it could deliver. Gourmand's pork escalope was tasty.
So, in lieu of much else to say here are four reasons why you could be forgiven for choosing Four Seasons. Firstly, there is a big TV and you might not have a TV. Secondly, there is a bar. Thirdly, they have a secret menu that can only be accessed by the select few, like Gourmand. Since the collapse of Communism the Eastern hordes' propensity to espionage has had to be channeled into such outlets. Fourth is the beautiful, spacious garden you can glimpse out the back of the building. Truly, Four Seasons supports a happy home life.
Overall score: 13.5/10
A solid performance by Vali's Four Seasons. We recommend going Polish here.