Thursday, 29 April 2010

Brewed Boy Update - Saturdays, Marylebone W1

The super nice Rob and his Brewed Boy coffee cart are now located at the Cabbages & Frocks market in Marylebone High Street on Saturdays.  So if you are hanging out around there make sure to sample one his delicious flat whites.  I can also highly recommend a visit to Daunt Books, without doubt one of my favourite London book shops.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Lantana Take-Away - Charlotte Place W1

You can never have too much Lantana as far as I'm concerned, so I was very happy to see the new Lantana take-away shop is open, next door to the existing cafe.  One of the issues with Lantana was the space - it got so crowded in there during peak times and sometimes the take-away coffees took a while to be made.  Solution: open a new take-away outfit next door to free up the cafe for eat-ins.  Genius.  The new take-away shop is clean and simple - offering a selection of cakes and yummy stuff to go with the consistently good coffee.  I had some delicious toasted banana bread today - I used to hate anything with banana in it, even though I liked bananas...not sure why but banana cake, banoffie pie, Barney Banana ice-creams (any Aussies reading this will know what these are) all made me want to barf, then suddenly a few years ago it was all OK and thank God for that because now I can enjoy the joy that is toasted banana bread.  Still no word on where the previous occupant of this space, Viet Baguette has gone - if anyone knows, please let me know. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Nordic Bakery - Golden Square W1

The Nordic Bakery was another recommendation from my friend Rob - he was raving about their cinnamon buns but also how crucial it was to time your visit so they were freshly baked.  I think they're pretty fine at any time but he's right - if you get them straight out of the oven they are amazing.  I also like their sandwiches - lovely dark rye bread and also kinds funky looking (funky in the positive way not the American way).  I particularly like the circular ham and cheese sandwich - tasty and quirky.  Their coffee is OK too - but if I were you I'd get a take-away coffee from Fernandez & Wells in Beak Street and then wander on down to the Nordic Bakery for a cinnamon roll.  If it's a nice day, sit in Golden Square and contemplate how the combination of quality caffeine and something sweet can make life feel pretty darn good...

Nordic Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Update - Bullet Cafe closed for Summer

Bullet upstairs at Snow & Rock in Seven Dials has closed for the Summer (as I found out after trudging up 4 flights of stairs today).  So to sample their coffee you'll have to head down sarf to The Roastery in Wandsworth Road.

Central Saint Giles WC2 - discuss

There has been a lot of controversy about the new Renzo Piano designed Central Saint Giles building - personally I think it's great.  Yes, it looks a bit like meccano but that's part of its charm.  As much as I love this area and the fact it is so full of history (the black plague of the late 17th century claimed it's first recorded victims in the parish of St Giles so I dread to think what they dug up when they were excavating this site...) but in more recent times the buildings and general vibe around here has been pretty uninspiring.  Suddenly we have this shocking burst of colour, a towering set of buildings that promise restaurants and retail space below.  I say bravo - what do you guys think?

The Phoenix Garden - WC2

The Phoenix Garden is a hidden gem slap bang in the centre of London.  I am reluctant to write about it as I use it as a sanctuary and the last thing I want is for it to be full of people however in the spirit of altruistic blogging, I am happy to share this wonderful secret with you.  Tucked in beside St Giles church and behind CentrePoint, just near the intersection of Shafetsbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, the Phoenix Garden is run by volunteers and is there purely as a community space - how great is that?  Thanks to these generous volunteers, stressed out workers can eat their sandwich in one of the most tranquil spaces in London.  Forget trying to fight for a dusty square metre in Soho Square, walk another 5 minutes and chill out in Phoenix Garden.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Tapped & Packed - Rathbone Place W1

So this place has only been open for 2 weeks and walking past all you see is a big "No. 26" on the outside - however I think it is called Tapped & Packed and there is a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed (see here)  and a blog which is so 2010.  Anyway whatever this place is called, I love it and it is within spitting distance of where I work so I am one happy bunny today.  I had an exemplary flat white, made with Climpson & Sons beans and also had a mighty fine bircher muesli-like concoction (although I shouldn't have added honey, it was sweet enough without).  They are also brewing single origin coffees with the added (and unique for London I think) feature of being able to choose the brewing method - filter, cafetiere, siphon or aeropress (the siphon is so cool - like a chemistry experiment).  They also use some Square Mile beans so the variety if fantastic.  The food options are limited for now but are all really good - a selection of pre-packaged sandwiches and salads (but good quality) for lunch and some tasty looking cakes.  So go and check these guys out - they are super new and they are just the sort of place that we all should be supporting.  Down with the chain stores - long live the indies!

Tapped and Packed on Urbanspoon

Scooterworks - SE1

I love the area around Waterloo station (like Roupell St) and Lower Marsh is one of those streets that is bang up against the station but manages to feel like a sleepy High St - or at least what a High St used to feel like.  I had read about Scooterworks cafe and had been curious to check it out.  I go through Waterloo station every day of the week but I am either running late or I forget or I'm already caffeined up to the hilt from our pretty decent home brewed flat whites (made on our wonderful Rancilio Silvia).  Saturday I finally made it there - what a cool little cafe.  The vibe is all 50s, diner style but with an alternative edge (in case you are picturing Johnny Rockets or similar).  It was really chilled out at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon - people sitting in the cute little courtyard out back, a really friendly woman serving and decor inside that reminded me of places I used to hang out in at Uni (in a good way!).  There was a notice for a screening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof downstairs in the basement so I guess there's more space down there.  I just loved the whole feel of the place and will definitely be back.  In the spirit of honesty, the flat white (made on a beautiful Italian 1957 Faema espresso machine) was a little weak and a little too hot for my tastes but still absolutely drinkable.  I really liked this place - it will definitely be a pitstop when I am commuting through Waterloo or lurking around the Southbank.

Scooterworks Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Noodle Oodle - Oxford St W1

Given it's position on a particularly un-lovely stretch of Oxford Street I had never thought of going into Noodle Oodle, in fact I had assumed it was one of those vile Thai all you can eat buffet places.  Then I was trying to find somewhere cheap and Asian to eat near TCR tube (I can't remember why - that is not my usual criteria) and this place came up in the search results.  So then I started doing my research and read some good things and finally went there this week for lunch.  It was super tasty - in particular the hand pulled noodles that are their speciality.  You can choose from a variety of noodle toppings and you can go dry or soup (I chose dry) - I had the char sui (pork) noodles.  The meat was really delicious and the noodles were sticky, dense and morish.  In combination with the sweet sauce and some bok choy on the side, it was a great lunch time dish.  They also do dumplings and other dim sum - we shared a plate of pork buns.  I had expected the normal steamed char sui bun and these were different - not as good but still tasty.  The bun itself was not as fluffy as a char sui bun, more dense and noodle-like.  The filling, rather than dark, sticky, sweet pork was more like a ball of sausage meat - but good sausage meat.  So overall I think this place is a real gem amongst a sea of crap on Oxford Street.  I will definitely be back - particularly as it is about a 2 minute walk from my office.

Noodle Oodle on Urbanspoon