Rapha – Spitalfields

I have a complicated relationship with Rapha – I find them rather pretentious with their expensive kits aimed at the ex-golfers but then they have nice cakes!

It’s not too far from work and I was on a half day so seemed sensible to take the opportunity to give it a whirl, on my own this time. I had a latte and a brownie, in a previous post I said no more brownies but I am not posting quite in the order I visited each place so there will be more to come too.

 

The brownie was nut as well as chocolate so had more of a bite but was nicely chewy, no real crispness to the top though. The coffee was okay, it isn’t my favourite but does the job and comes in nice mugs.

Kerry isn’t a fan of the bitter Rapha coffee so doubt I will get her to visit and although it isn’t my favourite part of me just wants to belong so sure I will visit again at some point. They do offers, like a drink and cake for £4, which seems very un-Rapha but is the sort of thing that would attract me in the future.

The place felt much more relaxed than the Soho clubhouse, very similar decor but being less central made it feel more chilled out. Didn’t feel like I was in anyone’s way or in a rush to drink up and get out. It has a nice outside area that’s within the Spitalfields market so still dry but better for people watching.

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Curators Coffee Gallery – Margaret Street

 

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This is just a few minutes away from Oxford Street and Regent Street but is in a nice quiet street away from the hustle and bustle. I’d past it before but had usually just had a drink elsewhere so hadn’t popped in.

I had a latte and a brownie. On the coffee front there are a variety of roasts on offer – I just had the house espresso but as you can see from the picture this can change. I am going to learn more about the different origins at some point so I can be more of a coffee snob, but until that happens I am happy to stick to what the barista provides.

The coffee was stunning, so smooth and had to really make an effort to savour it. That was helped by the brownie also being excellent, soft with a slight crispness to the top. I am going to have to stop having brownies as everyone one just seems better and the last and I know that that cannot last, one day I will be hit with a dud and that will spoil what came before!

The staff were very friendly without being over bearing. It always makes me smile when I see ‘regulars’ in places like that – I really must start to visit the excellent coffee hut near work and see if I can get a ‘the usual’ from the staff there! The place is effortlessly cool, I didn’t venture to the downstairs area but where I was it was bright and airy.

I will be going back and taking Kerry when I do, a second opinion can never hurt and gives me an excuse (should one be needed) to visit once again.

Colicci – Westfield (Stratford)

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This was a solo trip so hunted out a new location to partake in a beverage and edible, and this is fairy new, and not in the shopping centre so can breath and actually relax a little bit.

I had a cappuccino and a chocolate brownie, cost about a fiver (so easy to not recall when everything is contactless now!) and chose to sit outside. The coffee was very nice, the A board outside says what it is, single origin and all that jazz – I really don’t want to become a coffee w*nker but I could do so easily!

The brownie was amazing, very moist and freshly baked (there was a sign so I Believe them). Could have had a slightly crisper top but on the whole it was the best I’ve had for a long time, could have had seconds or thirds quite easily.

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Staff were friendly and the place was Untitled.pngvery clean, the seating inside is a bit snug, more functional than comfy – maybe even oppressive – so sitting outside was better when alone.

As I am required to visit Stratford quite often – Kerry likes to shop – I will go again and add some marks to the loyalty card 🙂

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.