Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain WC2

My friend Johnny and I share a fascination for London and in particular its hidden, forgotten or abandoned spaces.  At one of our infrequent but always entertaining lunches, he posed the question of what the small enclosed area at the junctions of High Holborn, Shaftsbury Ave and St Giles High St (which happens to be right next to where we both work) was called and also wanted to know what the deal was with the decorative but rather forlorn and forgotten (and dry) fountain at its centre.  Being a more intrepid detective than me, he managed to work out over the next few days that the odd little triangle of land was called Princes Circus and the monument was to celebrate 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign.  Unfortunately the area around the fountain is fenced off and never seems to be open so it's only the rather radioactive looking lichen that gets to enjoy this little oasis of tranquillity in the middle of three busy roads.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Attendant - Foley St Fitzrovia W1

When I first started this blog back in 2009 one of the main reasons was to highlight the growing London coffee scene - I would faithfully visit every new cafe and write it up.  Then as the cafes started opening thick and fast, I realised that I was falling behind - my Central London Coffee Survival Guide Map was actually looking a bit out of date.  Eek!  Anyway - I am determined to set that right, fill in the gaps over the coming months but also make sure to alert all my fellow caffeine-addicts to new openings.  Attendant in Foley St is a great example of the latter.  Cleverly taking an abandoned old Victorian public lav (I am a big fan
 of old fashioned public loos - not in a cottaging/Joe Orton sort of way but because they are often really beautiful, with amazing tiling and huge old porcelain fittings.  For fellow toilet enthusiasts, check out this blog and pay a visit to the loos at RIBA.) the Attendant crew have turned this space into a really lovely cafe.  There is a dinky little take away hatch as soon as you enter, a communal table at the back and round the edges some rather wonderful seats in the old porcelain urinals!  I can only imagine how much disinfecting and bleaching must have gone on to clear a century of pong but the result is unique and super cool.  The
 doorway with the "Attendant" sign still on it is a nod to the naming inspiration and importantly the coffees are top notch.  Brewing Caravan beans and using wonderful creamy Somerset milk, I really loved my flat white.  Gail's hot cross buns were on offer as well as other tasty looking treats.  This is a really fantastic cafe, in a quirky and well designed space, serving excellent caffeinated beverages and yummy food - what's not to love?  I for one will be back - readers of this blog will know how much I love Fitzrovia and Attendant is just another great reason to visit this corner of London. The Attendant on Urbanspoon