Monday, 26 September 2011

Speakeasy - Lowndes Court W1

Alerted by Twitter (the word "free coffee" always get my attention) and by a friend on Facebook (I am so new media) I trundled along at lunch time to check out Speakeasy, a very cool new "Espresso and Brew Bar" just off Carnaby St.  A sister cafe to the wonderful Department of Coffee & Social Affairs  (with the same friendly Kiwi in attendance), this place not only has a cool name but makes great coffee and serves a damn fine plum cake (amongst other delicious looking food).  The coffee, for some reason, was free today, maybe because it was Day 3.  Whatever the reason I was happy to drink a top notch flattie that also happened to be free - I did feel slightly guilty though so I forced myself to buy the aforementioned plum cake.  There were several other people snapping photos when I went in - making me wonder if  they were fellow coffee bloggers (I felt like the poor relation taking photos on my crappy Blackberry).  Anyway, this place is really great and is in close proximity to the cool enclave of Newburgh and Marshall Streets so check it out (even if you have to pay for your coffee).

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Staple Inn - WC1

Anyone who has been to the Chancery Lane/Holborn area will have seen these amazing Tudor relics - stuck in the middle of busy High Holborn, Staple Inn dates from 1585 and escaped the great fire of 1666, but got badly damaged in a WWII air raid.  Over the centuries there have been various additions and repairs but what you see is still a largely intact Tudor building, which is so cool.  Behind it, as behind so many of the busy streets in this area, are some of the wonderful Inns of Court (more blogging on that to come). So take a moment in your busy day to stand on the traffic island in the middle of the road and admire this truly amazing structure.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bea's - One New Change EC4

I was in the vicinity of St Paul's today so decided to check out the new(ish) One New Change shopping centre and my main reaction...meh.  I am not a fan of these mall-type shopping centres and particularly next to the magnificence of St Paul's Cathedral.  Anyway - I'm sure it's lovely for the people who work there to have some concentrated retail therapy to occupy their lunch breaks.  Anyway, the best thing by far about this development is that there is a Bea's there (is it still Bea's of Bloomsbury if it's not in Bloomsbury?)  I am a HUGE fan of the original Bea's in Theobolds Road WC1 and so as far as I'm concerned the more Bea's (and also bees) there are in the world the better.  In fact Bea - how about SW18?  Hmmm?  As much as all the food at Bea's looks delicious I can never go past their version of the red velvet cupcake - not as sickly sweet as Hummingbird and the like, these babies are cup cake perfection and the Square Mile flat white I had with it was spot on.  I sat staring out at a corner of St Paul's and decided that whilst One New Change was pretty naff, the fact it's provided a new home for Bea's makes it a winner in my book.

Bea's of Bloomsbury on Urbanspoon

If you miss Brewed Boy...

..then head to Battersea

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

NEWSFLASH! New Notes Music & Coffee - Wellington St WC2

Exciting news - Notes Music & Coffee announced on Twitter today that they are opening a new venue in late September in Wellington St.  Hurrah!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Maltby St SE1 - Part 2

I have written about the foodie enclave that is Maltby St and its surrounds in Bermondsey before but that was almost 9 months ago, just before Christmas and things have got even better.  Due to the growing visitor numbers and some weird goings on at Borough Market the number of producers selling their wares has increased.
This Saturday, on what felt like the last day of Summer, we had a very chilled and delicious wander around Maltby St, Druid St, Stanworth St and a little further afield to Voyager Railway Arches to visit the wonderful Kappacasein.  Any of you who have been to Borough in the past will have seen their amazing cheese sandwiches being made and for now this new location is the only place where you can find them, as well as their ever popular raclettes (although they tell me they should be back at Borough very soon - while still keeping the Voyager Arches location).  The plan is to also use this new space to make cheese and there was some construction going on out the back to do just that.  It was so nice to eat one of their toasted cheese sandwiches (which are totally up there in my sandwich hall of fame) in such chilled surroundings - it was always a little hectic around their Borough stall.  Of course once you've done savoury you need sweet (we alternated several times during the day...) so we headed a couple of arches up to chat to the friendly fella at the Ice Cream Union  - who was super generous with samples (gotta love that) and up for a chat.  The ice cream is fantastic too.  Back on Stanworth St at
 No.55 there are several great producers in one space - Fern Verrow's organic veg looked amazing (I was eyeing up some golden beets that were particularly beautiful) and the Borough Cheese Company was very tempting (there is certainly no shortage of cheese in the Maltby St area - Neal's Yard Dairy is also there plus Mons and others.  At No.55 it was Coleman Coffee Roasters that caught my attention though - these guys are a small batch coffee roastery in south-east London and as well as selling beans (which we used this morning at home and were delicious) they were serving top notch piccolos.  So all in all it was a lovely day - if you haven't checked out the Maltby St area make sure you do and soon - we started the day with a flat white at Monmouth, got a sugar rush from one of St John's custard donuts and then powered around the arches.  The day finished in the wonderful Tower Bridge Antiques, which is right there also.  I love this area - with Borough Market itself and the wonderful Bermondsey St a short walk away, this is fast becoming one of my favourite parts of London.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Capel Bedyddwyr Cymreig - Eastcastle St W1

I really hope I got the Welsh name of this building correct in the post title - I have a sneaking suspicion I may have slipped an extra "d" or "y" in there somewhere.  Anyway I wanted to give this really unusual and cool building in Fitzrovia its proper name.  Otherwise I would have called it the Welsh Chapel, which is what it is.  Built in 1889 this ornate fronted building has always intrigued me although I have never managed to see inside.  Stuck in the middle of media and fashion land it seems a little out of place, like an architectural wedding cake.  I think that's part of the reason I love it and of course it's in Fitzrovia which is also a bonus.  Check it out - a little gem just behind Oxford Street.