Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Newsflash! St Ali & Sensory Lab become Workshop Coffee

Fans of St Ali in Clerkenwell and Sensory Lab in Wigmore Street will now be dirnking fine caffeinated beverages in Workshop Coffee, the new brand.  Check it out here.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Damson Cafe - St Giles High St WC2

As the time approaches for our office move to Central St Giles I am starting to work out what my closest coffee locations will be.  Luckily for me, my current fave Nude Espresso in Soho Square is still relatively close, plus Monmouth and Wild & Wood are but a hop, skip and a jump away.  I was really excited when Flat Cap kindly located their new cart in the grounds of St Giles church and thought that was definitely going to be my closest location for that emergency caffeine hit.  But I was wrong people!  Winning the race by a matter of metres is newcomer to the London coffee scene, Damson.  A cute little cafe on the corner of New Compton St (those of you who are used to sashaying down Old Compton St may not realise there's a "new" one too) and St Giles High St, Damson is on the site of the old Panchetto Bistro, a pretty standard cafe who did a better than average fry-up.  Damson is a really lovely cafe and the flat white I had there last week was spot on.  My sis and I also shared a delicious raspberry muffin thingy which we both agreed was the perfect size and consistency for a muffin - which means the exact opposite of those gross, tumorous looking things you get from Starbucks.  So check out this lovely new cafe - I can't wait for the office move to happen so I can become a regular!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Brockley Market - SE4

So after wanting to go for some time we finally made the trek (3 trains - not sure we did it the most efficient way) to Brockley to check out the Saturday market.  Running from 10am to 2pm in the Lewisham College car park, this is a real local gem.  I had heard lots of good things about the market, in particular from some faithful blog scouts, Ben and Gen.  It was a magnificent Saturday when the other half and I made the trek from the SW to the SE and by the time we reached Brockley station we were starving.  First stop was the wonderful Browns of Brockley for a flattie - it was so hard to resist the yummy food on offer there but we had come to Brockley Market to eat and I wanted an empty stomach to fill with market treats (that sounds kinda icky - sorry).  With the Spring blossom coming out and the sun shining, Brockley looked its best and the streets we walked through to get to the market were really lovely, by the time we reached our destination we had made plans to move to Brockley.  It felt so peaceful and the streets lined with large red brick Victorian houses were as nice as you'd get in more "sought after" areas (and a lot less hectic).  At the risk of sounding twee, our stroll also included a friendly cat sitting on a gatepost who rolled over to have its belly scratched.  Anyway enough Brockley love, on to the market.  First impressions were that it was

small but perfectly formed - given we were miles from the tourist hot-spots of Borough we didn't have to deal with the hordes (although if jokers like me keep writing about it it won't be long).  As much as we wanted to check out the fresh produce stalls, it had been a long time since we woke up, so getting some food tout de suite was priority numero uno (I do like to see how many languages I can fit in one sentence).  We decided to divide and conquer and split the proceeds - the other half went straight for Mother Flipper's burgers.  With high praise from burger aficionados like Young & Foodish I knew this burger would deliver and it did.  For me, the secret to a great burger is the bun - the patty goes without saying but the bun is key to take a good burger into the realms of greatness and the Mother Flipper burger got it spot on.  I am still dreaming of this burger 2 weeks later.  My side

of the shared breakfast was a slow cooked pork torta from Luardos, Mexican street food served from a bright pink van (called Mary - the van, not the torta).  Watching this baby being made was like food porn, good thing upon good thing kept getting piled on (check out the photo for an almost complete torta) - amazing slow cooked pork, black beans, homemade guacamole and tomato salsa and hot sauce - be warned, I said "medium hot" and it was pretty zingy.  This was messy but so friggin' delicious.

As we sat there in the sun, taking alternate bites from the burger and the torta, life felt pretty darn good.  We decided that we should walk a little to aid digestion and make some room for something sweet (sorry, I really do have to stop making digestive references, not sure what's going on with me tonight...) so we took a couple of turns round the market, checking out the amazing fresh local produce - as always I bought a jar of something that looked great but will probably sit in the cupboard gathering dust, but hey that's what farmers' markets are about.  I really wished I was pig enough to squeeze in a Scotch egg from the Scotch egg guy - but I couldn't and plus Ben had bought me one a couple of weeks before so at least I knew how delicious they were.  We ended up at a great cake stall and decided on the splitting option again, this time a perfect chocolate brownie and a millionaire's shortbread sold to us by a friendly young chap with whom I discussed the merits of different brands of gin, which is the sort of conversation I am always pleased to have.  We accompanied our cakes with a decent flat white from the Dark Fluid coffee cart.  By this point we were fit to burst so decided to call it a day.  I loved Brockley Market - the food of course, the environs definitely but also the people.  Brockley seems to do cool locals - for those of us from the leafy SW it was nice to have a break from the yummy mummies and the rugger buggers (not that I am dissing my 'hood - well maybe a little, but only because I love it really).  The Brockley locals looked like they could be architects or perhaps work at an indie record label rather than the hedge fund crowd - but mostly they just looked friendly and up for it and perhaps slightly hung over.  All in all a lovely day - I can highly recommend a Saturday trip to SE4, but just don't tell too many people about it.  After queueing for ages to get into the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy this weekend and being told last Thursday night at Ceviche that we had to wait at least an hour for a table I have decided that there are just too many people in London so I don't want them all crowding down to Brockley Market because it's the "thing to do", so I probably shouldn't be writing this blog post, but I can't not, because it's just so lovely and my mission, nay - my raison d'etre - is to tell you about lovely, unmissable things to do in London and this, my friends, is one of them.

Space Invaders!

Anyone who has spent any time wandering around the streets of Soho and surrounds (and that is most certainly me) may have noticed these colourful little characters - space invaders made from tiles and stuck to the sides of buildings, on walls, usually high up.  Parisian street artist Space Invader (see what he did there?) was named as responsible back in 2009 but to be honest I think there may be some imitators, as some more seem to
 have been popping up lately.  I love spotting them - if you fancy going on a space invader spotting mission yourself, there us a long standing (sticking?) version above the archway leading to Greek St next to the Pillars of Hercules pub, there is one in Rathbone Place, one near where The End nightclub used to be
and another one on the wall of the Elms Lester Painting Rooms near Denmark St.  It's a bit like those stories about picking magic mushrooms - once you find one, suddenly they pop up everywhere!  I have only included a selection here - maybe I should start another Google map.  I hope it is Space Invader that is putting up the new ones - I love to think that he/she is carrying on their mission to invade Soho with these little critters.  Long live the space invaders!