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.

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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.

Damson & Co – Brewer Street

 

WP_20160902_001I was looking for a new coffee spot to try but was having little look, wandering about aimlessly really – should have planned a little better of course – and so had given up and was heading towards Rapha when I stumbled across Damson and Co so went straight in without hesitation.

It had the look of a small bar when I first entered, and I tried to cover my confusion by looking at the menu on the wall when the barista aid good morning and I saw the coffee machine. I had a cappuccino (£3) but nothing to eat, there were some quite nice looking pastries but I was more thirsty than hungry.

Coffee took a while to be made, not a bad thing when you are the only person in the queue as shows it is being prepared properly. I had it to take away but it seemed a nice little place, and staff were pleasant.

The coffee itself was very nice, it was strong so I added sugar to make it more palatable – at another time I may not have done but I wanted to drink it rather than sit and sip and savour it. Not sure Kerry would like the coffee as it may be a touch too “Rapha” for her, but I’d go again if unable to find somewhere new and in that area again!

Jamie’s Coffee Lounge – Gatwick Airport

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I’ve not added this so I can boast about going away on some amazing holiday as I wasn’t going anywhere, I merely escorted Kerry to her flight for a holiday with her family. I had a decaf cappuccino and pain au raisin whilst Kerry had a croissant and Americano.

My pastry was nice, Kerry’s was dry. The coffee was nice, both enjoyed them.

Place itself is quite nice really but tinged with sadness at Kerry going away. When I go to meet her I might go again, that way the happiness of her returning will cancel the sadness of her going and make things all okay again.

Kipferl – Camden Passage

This was a three way coffee trip to Angel with added niece-ness! Angel is a fairly ugly place near the station but gets nicer as you drift away from it, just don’t drift towards the market – we were there on a Saturday may be better other days.

 

We sat outside as it was a warm day and were served fairly promptly. Kerry had a melange (which is a mini latte, so could be classed as a cortado although not served in a glass) and topfan torte (cheesecake). Alice had a latte and haustorte (pretty much the ‘cake of the day’ which was chocolate of some kind). I had a cappuccino and guglhupf (marble cake really) with ice cream. Total was £21.50 which felt fair enough.

We all liked our coffee’s, Alice said it was the best latte she’d ever had, which is a clear confidence! We all enjoyed our cakes too, mine was a touch dry so it was lucky I had the ice cream with it.

The staff were friendly and the simple thing of not needing to write down orders impressed us more than it probably should have done. I think we will go again at some stage, there are other places in the area we’d like to investigate too though, but so hard not to stick to favourites.

Peyton and Byrne – Greenwich

We were in Greenwich as wanted to order a piece of art and so following that with a coffee was a given.

First place we stumbled across was Peyton and Byrne, and even though we’ve been passed a few of these (there is / was one at St Pancras station) we’d never actually stopped for a coffee.

My eyes were drawn instantly to the pink battenburg – I love normal battenburg so I was sold on going in right away. The picture of the cakes doesn’t do justice to the selection, there was probably double that amount available of not more. I ordered the battenburg and a decaf latte, Kerry had blackcurrant cheesecake and a cortado. Total price a reasonable £12.60.

Kerry thinks her cortado was nice, it’s a few days since we went and she hasn’t been very well and is a bit muddled! In future I will draft the post as soon as we have been to avoid any confusion. She did enjoy the cheesecake, even though not massive she couldn’t quite manage the whole thing.

My latte was very nice, smooth and a nice flower on the top. Slowly getting used to not being upset when drinks do not come in buckets. Now the bad thing – the battenburg didn’t live up to the expectations, the sponge was too dry, if it was a day old I would not be surprised, and that made me a little sad.

We will go back again, got many other cakes to try out and it’s a nice place, friendly staff and clean enough. May suggest a trip when we go to pick up the picture in the next week or so….

Have had a second visit and coffee still as good but cake was muchly improved, I had a lemon meringue muffin, to quote the young of today “OMG!” I expected the meringue  to be crisp but it was soft and fluffy, the cake was soft and the lemon inside was ace – could have even been more lemony for my taste but absolutely amazing. Sad to only have had one.

Also sad that they shut at 6, seems early for such a tourist fuelled place as Greenwich.

Caffe Concerto – Regent Street

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It was Kerry’s birthday recently and WP_20160527_001rather than buy a cake I offered to take her out for cake to a Patisserie Valerie, then we saw Caffe Concerto and it looked very similar.

Kerry had an Americano and a slice of strawberry gateaux, I had a pot of decaf tea and a slice of chocolate gateaux. When the drinks arrived the tea clearly won on the posh from as the tea bag (it was called something much more refined than a bag of course) arrived on it’s own small dish, and in a box.

Kerry’s coffee was nice and the cake was nice too, a bit too large for her but she managed most of it. it was no better than that she’d had from PV so I guess that means is is technically worse as the price was definitely not the same.

The tea was fine, only managed about one and a half cups from the pot which was fine really, sometimes you can get a lot more though. The chocolate gateaux was lovely, very soft cake, lots of cream, was too much of it really but I didn’t leave any of it of course.

WP_20160527_002The place itself was a little dated, looked a bit tired and warm out in places. For the price – well over £20 –  I would have expected it to be pretty much immaculate. I would be stunned if the cakes were made on the premises as they look too well presented and also look exactly the same in each of their establishments. They could be the same as from PV I guess, which I could research but do not inclined to make the effort.

WP_20160527_003The staff were friendly enough, was served quickly enough but did take a while to get someone’s attention when we wanted to pay the bill.

Not sure we’d go again, it was nice enough just too expensive, a much better idea to just get the cake to take away and save enough money to get coffee / tea from elsewhere.

Workshop Coffee – Spin (London)

This was a pop-up at a cycling event and so had no real competition for my trade, but it didn’t need it. The choice wasn’t huge but that was okay, the lack of cake was a bit more of a let down though!

The coffee was edging onto the bitter side but was very nice, my palate seems to be changing from the massive milky concoctions to those based more on good coffee with less milk.

Workshop Coffee seem to be a step above many purveyors in that they also sell the beans, and you can subscribe, and hardware for at home coffee production, and they also offer classes in how to do it expertly.

As well as popping up they have a few places around London, if I stumble across one I will definitely be going again. The staff were really nice, chatty and quick – although I was there before the queues developed luckily.

https://workshopcoffee.com/

Grounded – Whitechapel Road

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This was a solo ‘splash and dash’ to pick up a coffee and continue on my way. I had a cappuccino which was £2.50, there was food but as not settling down I managed to stop myself. The food all looked nice though, and handmade which is a good thing.

The  coffee was okay, nothing special though, WP_20160521_006was a little weak but also with a bitterness so added a sugar then it was too sweet so maybe half a sugar would have been better.

It’s only about a 15 minute walk from work and just past a Starbucks I go to when motivated so I will give it another try at some stage in the next couple of months, hopefully this was just an off day.

Size of drink is no longer a concern for me, bigger is not better and smaller means more chance of getting a second cup from the same place or somewhere new.