Why We Love The Saw Swee Hock Café

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It has many times been said that everyone has one story in them: a novel, a play, a collection of epic poetry.

I am pretty much convinced that my one story was my first ‘restaurant review’. It was a bold but not overly-audacious piece that aimed to provide specific analysis, but according to my friends, ‘didn’t really have a point’. More of a forgettable Percy Jackson than a Harry Potter, it wasn’t outstanding, but I hope provided reasonable entertainment.

The only problem with this brave voyage into the world of writing was that I signed up to be a regular blogger, as opposed to a one-hit wonder (indulge me).

And so here I sit with ‘writer’s block’, which is a phrase designed simply to infuriate GCSE English teachers, and to provide an excuse for people like me who are too unimaginative to think of anything to write. This leaves me in the Saw Swee Hock Café, mindlessly writing narcissistic musings in the hope that I’ll come up with some witty lines that will maintain a respectable readership.

But I love it.

The reason for this is that the Saw Swee Hock Café is possibly my favourite place on campus. With a few mainly abandoned computers, lots of people sitting around on Apple Macs, and plenty of cheap food, it is just the place to go when you can’t be dealing with the try-hards in the library, but need to convince yourself that you are a hard-worker who isn’t going to get a third and end up working as a media-communications officer for a start-up which doesn’t pay.

The atmosphere is just like being in Starbucks, just without the intrusive ‘What’s your name?’ (simply so that they can spell it wrong). The lighting is dim but still perfectly practical, and there are strange and quite superfluous white ovals on the ceiling which make the place feel artistic.

The food, however, is not brilliant. The Pizza crunches like gravel in your mouth, and only about half of the slice of breaded rock is actually covered by anything that could be deemed a topping. Possibly even worse, the pasties smell weird, which I know is true because I am eating one right now and the two people sitting across from me commented on the smell, then nodded towards me, as I naively pretended not to notice whilst crying from my embittered heart. Words hurt, people!



But despite this, it is a place I would never want to discredit. The food is very cheap, £5 for a pizza and £2.75 for a pasty, and so it doesn’t have to be good. You pay for what you get, and I’m happy to have a pasty that disgusts the people I sit by, if it means I can buy an extra beer after a soul-crushing maths lecture.

Moreover, the people who work there are lovely, efficient, smiling people, who won’t judge you for buying pastry for lunch every day of the week, despite the clearly growing size of your gut.

This is the perfect place to waste your time. Everyone sits around on fancy laptops amidst curious architecture, and yet nobody really does anything other than munch on pizza. It’s like a mix between the 20th Century Parisian cafés of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and a Greggs pastry shop. You simply sit down and wait for the damnation of summer exams, happily munching on a sub-par pasty, dreaming about the success your LSE life is taking you towards.