Look Mum No Hands – Back Church Lane

I love the original LMNH and as this new location is quite close to work it seemed a no-brainer to give it a visit when time allowed, which it did quite recently. I had passed it on a ride in to work so I knew roughly where it was, and how camouflaged it was with the rest of the street.

The location does seem weird, it isn’t too far from the Square Mile, but not that close either, cannot see there is much passing traffic and there isn’t anywhere close to draw people (that I could see). That doesn’t really matter though as I wont be going again.

I had a cappuccino and slated caramel brownie, the coffee was very nice (and free as I had a full loyalty card) and the brownie was stunning, salted caramel could be getting passé but I love it so glad it’s hanging on. The place was very clean and nicely presented, staff were friendly and service was prompt.

But there was no soul, the original LMNH feels very egalitarian, there are all types there and everyone is welcome, at this LMNH I can’t see it ever being full of cyclists or anyone else. Apart from the name there is nothing related to cycling about it, nothing in the decor, no bike parking (except the standard outside stuff). I like that in the OG cafe it’s a bit of a muddle, and that the toilets are full of random stickers and messages – the toilets here looked so clean I was scared to use them.

If it were called something else, like Back Church Lane Coffee then it would be fine, a nice place to go if in that area, but I expect more from LMNH – fun.

London Buck – Philpot St. (E1)

My morning commute concludes with a walk which often encourages a slight detour for a coffee from McDonalds – I wont apologise for liking their coffee and it’s cheap. But the other week I saw that a new coffee establishment had popped up just around the corner from the golden arches.

It’s small and tidy, guy in charge is verging on being too cool – it’s not quite the right area to be a hipster or he may have to tend to his facial growth accordingly. I had a decaf cappuccino and nothing else – there is food but it was very early, even I draw the line at eating cake before nine on a school day. Drinks are priced but cost less than I thought – that’s the good thing about independent places, they can charge you less if they like you!

The coffee was really nice, very smooth indeed, time was taken to prepare it and I could taste the attention that had been taken. I will be going back many times – on the way to work and will also be going back on a non-work day to sit in and savour the drink and try out some of the freshly made cakes.

No link for this one, new and no digital footprint as of yet – something else in the plus column!

Kitchen & Pantry – Elgin Crescent

I love this picture – looks like a goldilocks version of coffee.

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Portabello Road is a weird place, it is tourist central pretty much all the time – so we went on a Saturday in January, and it was still nuts! We went with a purpose thought so sorted that out and then went on a coffee hunt.

I’d been to Kitchen & Pantry alone previously, but is was a couple of years back and probably pre-blog. We wanted a light lunch so Kerry had tuna wraps and an Americano, I had a croque monsieur and a latte. Came to something like £12, I wanted cake too as they all looked excellent, even though it being lunch they already had big spaces where the tourists/locusts had swarmed through, but decided to be good, for once.

Kerry’s coffee came in two mugs, one for the coffee and one for the milk, which was cute and also tempting to purloin the espresso cup as I only have one, but I didn’t of course. Her coffee was nice as was the wrap, the downside with the wrap was that after we sat down she saw cooked breakfasts being delivered to other people and wanted to have one of those instead – next time.

My coffee was nice too, should have opted for a larger size as it was a sit and relax visit and it went down too easily. The croque monsieur was very nice, it was pre-packed unlike the majority of the food so all they had to do was make it hot really!

The place is cool, all wood and even thought it’s quite big with the amount of seating forced in it has a cosy feel, not a problem as everyone seemed happy to share tables as required, we found a small empty one though, total luck though. We will be going again as Kerry wants to try the breakfast and I’d give that a got too.

It’s not too far from the book shop featured in Notting Hill and the blue door from the same film if you want to be a tourist, and there’s often a busker with no skill abusing people around the corner too.

In a change this year I am going to put a link to where we’ve been, should one be available –

http://www.kitchenandpantry.co.uk/

Fortnum and Mason – St. Pancras International

This was a trip from a little while ago but kept forgetting to write about it.

Were at St. Pancras as Kerry had been forced to go to the frozen north (there be dragons) for a party and I met her off the train. There are many options for coffee at the station but they’re mainly chains or not that special so I decided on F&M as a treat.

Kerry had a flat white and I had a latte – I thought I’d had a tea but looking at the picture that is clearly incorrect and does show that I should write these posts closer to the actual time of the visit. We also shared scones, 1 plain and 1 fruit with jam and cream, £17.04 in total, which obviously isn’t cheap but not like we’d be going every day and treats are good now and again.

The coffee was lovely and smooth and went too quickly. Kerry enjoyed her’s too, she hadn’t been feeling that well but is never too unwell for coffee. She had the plain scone with cream and jam, the scones were still warm and were amazing. I had the fruit scone but with just jam as I don’t like cream. The amount of jam provided was too so took the jar home with me – lasted 2 breakfasts on croissants.

We will definitely do again when passing through the station, it’s much more relaxing than the alternatives, also much cleaner and the staff were friendly and attentive. Did feel a little under-dressed though!

The Bake Cycle – Anywhere (sort of!)

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We had the pleasure of attending the Cake and Bake Show again this year and along with the normal things on show was something combining two of my favourites – bikes and cakes!

The idea is fairly simple – cakes delivered by bike. The business was launched at the show so is very much in it’s infancy but talking to the maim man – not wearing a lycra apron sadly – the enthusiasm really comes across.

The baker and deliver man are one and the same, until they get too busy I would guess. I tried the chocolate brownie, twice, and it was amazing – perfect mix of slight crisp top and soft underneath, far superior to ‘the world’s greatest brownie’ I’d had not long ago at Paul Rhodes.wp_20161008_14_24_17_pro

Kerry tried the toffee apple, again twice, and was just as impressed – apple is one of her favourite flavours and isn’t over represented in the cake world really. You can also get banana chocolate chip, vanilla, lemon drizzle and many more – I’ve put the website address at the bottom so check out the lovely choices on there!

They don’t deliver individual slices of course, smallest is classed as Big and is 11.5×8″ and serves 15, then Bigger (serves 20) and Biggest (serves 40). How many they really serve depends on the size of slice you want too of course. With delivery the Big would be £25 making each slice just £1.25 so if working in an office or having an event it’s well worth it to try something a bit different – as long as in certain areas of London as he can’t deliver too far of course.

The one tiny improvement I’d like is the chance to have a 50/50 split – so I can get 10 slice of one type and 10 of another.

For transparency I’d like to add that we got press entry to the show but were under no pressure to be positive about anything!

http://www.thebakecycle.com

@the_bakecycle

xnfisud9

 

 

The Espresso Room – Southampton Row

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This was an in-and-out trip on the way home from a bike event, was going to be to a Costa but then realised I could go somewhere new and not chain-y. I had a latte and millionaires rosemary shortbread. No decaf but barista suggested a single shot instead and so I went with it.

The coffee was amazing, next time it will be a standard double shot latte to see how that compares, cannot see it being a bad thing at all, still smooth just stronger. The shortbread I didn’t manage to eat until the next day but it was rather nice, never had anything flavoured with rosemary, and apart from something that felt like a tiny twig on my tongue it. Not sure I’d have it again as they had other things available I could quite easily make the effort to try.

Hopefully will take Kerry next time and can settle down and see what the atmosphere is like too.

Tate Modern Switch House

Just a quick mention for a recent trip to Take Modern.

Switch House is the new extension on the side of the Tate Modern and when visiting we had to stop for cake of course. Kerry had an Americano and chocolate chip muffin, I had a latte and raspberry and white chocolate muffin.

Kerry said her muffin was amazing and enjoyed her coffee too. I really enjoyed my coffee and muffin too, they dis seem to have been baked on site or at least on that day, much better than when you know they’ve come from a packet.

We do pass the gallery a few times a year and will be getting coffee there again, the location is a big bonus as although we had the coffee inside there is a small coffee bar on the top floor where you can go and get amazing views over the city.

Kahaila – Brick Lane

This was  three-way coffee and cake convention as had the niece too  🙂 who chose the location and it was a rather excellent choice too.

Alice and I both had latte’s whilst Kerry had an Americano, can’t remember if mine was decaf, don’t think so but it was a few weeks ago so I may have mis-remembered! Kerry had a salted caramel brownie, I had salted caramel cake and Alice had chocolate, banana and peanut butter cake.

I was a bit disappointed with my cake, seemed too heavy and stodgy, and not strongly flavoured enough really. Alice liked her cake but said it could have had more peanut butter, although she did say she could live off the stuff! Kerry’s brownie was amazing, she couldn’t manage it all so I help her out and it must be the best brownie I’ve had in years,

We all really liked the coffee, could have quite easily had 2 or 3 really, helped by the place being cool, nice size and not stuffed with chairs so didn’t feel crowded – and this was on a Saturday afternoon so expect most of Brick Lane to be full.

I want to go again as the range of food was pretty good, and in an interesting area too.

Impressed with myself that I managed over  words without mentioning that it’s in a hipster area and making fun of their choice of clothes, head gear and facial hair – and that’s just the wenches.

The Black Lab – Clapham Common Southside

We went to Clapham as many of the adverts at the tube station had been replaced with pictures of cats – sad to some but did mean we had new coffee places to explore. We were going to go to Brickwood Coffee & Bread but there was a queue for seats and then we realised one of the others on my list was pretty much next door.

We had a bacon sandwich and brownie, shared then both although I did better out of the bacon as Kerry is picky when it comes to the porcine product – I am not. The brownie was amazing, the perfect level of crispy shell to soft underbelly, could have eaten several slices without sharing.

Kerry had an Americano, I had a cappuccino – we were offered a choice of beans and had to show our ignorance and just go with the baristas recommendation, probably the best way to go as we’d only be guessing/showing off.

I wish I’d gone for a large coffee rather than a regular, not that is was too small but because it tasted so good and I would have loved to have savour it for longer, yes I could have got a second but that thought only just popped into my head – next time though. Kerry’s coffee was verging on the ‘Rapha’ but as the beans choice is there we can experiment in the future.

For some reason I thought it meant lab as in laboratory rather than labrador, not an easy mistake to make I guess. There were dog visitors which Kerry was very happy about, the people watching took a back seat to cooing over various dogs. It’s a really nice place, simple and clean with friendly staff, we will be going again.

Cafe 1001 – Brick Lane

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Brick Lane is an odd area, not sure if I like it but it is colourful and lively. I’d been past this place a few times, it’s not actually on the main road but tucked into the Truman Brewery area, opposite Rough Trade – which also has a coffee area I need to try. I was on  my own as Kerry still away.

I had a cappuccino and rocky road slice – £4.80 although he forgot to charge me and only did as I was hanging about when he started to serve the next customer. I was a good boy and made sure I paid though.

The coffee was very smooth, good ratio of foam to coffee, Not too creamy and in no way bitter. The rocky road was amazing, best I’ve had anywhere, I am not a fan or marshmallows on their own but in these they are just perfect. Motivated to try to replicate at home, doubt I can improve but will be fun to try.

The place has a used.loved air, loads of space as it is also a club, with seating inside and out, looks like it would be a good place to while away time reading or working. Friendly staff and a good range of food and drink, and as you can see from the picture fresh breads too.

Definitely want to go again, maybe look at the savoury selection and spend some time chilling out and watching the world pass by – and laugh at the hipsters of course.