Browsing Tag

cafe

Blog, Date Spot, Do, Drink, Eat, London

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond Park

January 3, 2017
Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

Going for a walk in Richmond Park is something I don’t do enough.  And every time I go I remind myself how beautiful it is, how tame the deer are and how it actually feels like you’re in the countryside [for a little while].  And now I have another excuse to keep returning: Petersham Nurseries.

Richmond ParkRichmond Park

It’s one of those places where I wondered why on earth I hadn’t come sooner.  First and foremost it’s a garden centre, which doesn’t sound hugely appealing in itself.  But then you get there and you understand what all the fuss is about.  Even in early November, when it gets dark early and Richmond Park is soggy and your hands are freezing, Petersham Nurseries is like a flowery fairytale.  Everything is ridiculously pretty, without being kitsch.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond park

But flowers aside, there’s a lot more to Petersham Nurseries.  Namely the restaurant and cafe, both in glasshouses.  In fact, it reminds me a little of a British version of South Africa’s Babylonstoren.  Arguably without the sun, the winelands, and the Cape Dutch architecture, but Babylonstoren does also have a cafe and an excellent restaurant (Babel) in glasshouses.  There’s something about eating in a glasshouse that clearly appeals, I for one love it.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond park

We came here for tea, having walked our on-loan dog Amiga through an autumnal Richmond Park.  Dogs are allowed too (in the cafe).  Even in the winter this place gets busy, and the restaurant is always fully booked (so book ahead).   The cafe is teaming with life; from dogs barking, children laughing and friends gossiping.  The cakes are so good you could sit here for hours and work your way through the (considerable) selection.  They – of course – also have a large range of teas, from mint to English Breakfast, and also serve more casual, hearty lunch options like quiches and roasts.   It’s cosy and warm and the best place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

Petersham Nurseries’ more formal restaurant made a name for itself when chef Skye Gyngell (who since left to set up Spring) became Head Chef, and it was awarded a Michelin star.   I’m yet to eat here, but I’ve only heard good things.

But quite honestly, Petersham Nurseries was one of my 2016 highlights.  And I look forward to returning many more times in 2017.

Petersham Nurseries

Church Lane, Petersham Road,

Richmond TW10 7AB

Photo credit: my own and Stephanie Wolff’s photos

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, London

Thomas’ Cafe at Burberry, Mayfair

December 31, 2016
Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

When fashion designers try and do restaurants or bars or hotels they can get it wrong (par example the Versace Hotel in Miami), but trust Burberry to get it so right with their first Café opening: ‘Thomas’’ (names after the founder, Thomas Burberry).

It is beautiful, undeniably so.  With dark walls, dim lighting and a welcoming fireplace, it feels like you’ve walked into someone’s very sophisticated but cosy country home.  And while it’s clear that the interiors are well thought through and stylish, it’s done in an understated, unpretentious way.  Nothing flashy, or too polished.  A bit like the brand itself.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

Finding somewhere to go for coffee is difficult around Regent Street, unless you’re happy to settle with Pret or Café Nero and a bunch of tourists.  So Thomas’s is welcome for more than one reason.  Also, you can book, which means no unnecessary and tedious queuing for brunch.  And lastly, while you’d think it would have the same eye-watering prices as Burberry itself, you’re wrong.  It’s not cheap, of course.  But it’s reasonable.  And everything, from the beautiful presentation of the eggs with soldiers, to the tea with its own hour glass timer which tells you when the tea leaves have brewed to their optimum, is delightful.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, MayfairThomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

I could happily sit there for hours, sipping my cappuccino, watching people come and go, until it’s cocktail hour and then gently move on to one of their G&Ts.  There is no rush to leave your table (or if there was, we never felt it).

You are so well looked after here, by young, good looking, could-be Burberry models. Who are exceptionally polite and accommodating. But my favourite thing about the place is the soundtrack, which I recognised from their impossibly glamorous Christmas advert casually starring Siena Miller and Lily James (and which I still wish was a trailer to a 2 hour long movie).

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

And so, with January around the corner, this is a place that will make you embrace winter.  And be the perfect refuge for your post sale shop.

Thomas’ Cafe

Burberry

5 Vigo Street / 121 Regent Street

 

Blog, Drink, Eat, Healthy, London

Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

October 29, 2016
Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

I love it when you come across places which you never knew existed, but have walked past a million times.  South Ken is tricky for brunch.  It’s either super touristy (Muriel’s Kitchen) or a bit chainy (Comptoir Libanais, Aubaine, Pain Quotidien).   And then you get this cute, unassuming Deli/Cafe with a secret garden which is perfect for a summer lunch or an autumn brunch.   We were actually en route to Aubaine, but then passed the Brompton Food Market with it’s inviting ‘secret garden’ sign and thought we ought to have a look.  Let’s just say Aubaine never happened after that.

The Brompton Food Market is actually also a butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer as well.  I.e really the place do all your shopping.  And the experience is ten times nicer than shopping at Tesco’s, I can promise you that.  It’s a beautiful shop with excellent produce.  You could spend hours looking at all the different jams and oils and cheese.

Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

Shopping aside, they have a great selection of wonderful salads and juices for those healthy-inclined, or a mouthwatering brunch menu with dishes like American pancakes with berries, eggs whichever way you want, the list is endless.  My cappuccino was the size of my head.  We sat outside, kept warm with sheepskin rugs and overhead heaters.

Brompton Food Market, South KensingtonBrompton Food Market, South KensingtonBrompton Food Market, South Kensington

This is the perfect place for a cosy, laid back and affordable coffee or brunch, in the heart of touristy London.  It’s ideal if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and local, and away from the tourist hordes.

The Brompton Food Market

33 Thurloe Place

SW7 2HQ

Blog, Bologna, Italy

Caffe Terzi, Bologna – DRINK

July 10, 2016
Caffe Terzi, Bologna

I love scouting out the best places for coffee.  In Italy it’s not hard to find a good coffee.  But Caffe Terzi offers a very cute venue as well as excellent, beautifully presented coffee (or tea, if you prefer).   And you know you’re in the right place when all the locals are lined up at the bar sipping Espressos.

Caffe Terzi, Bologna

But Caffe Terzi isn’t just a place to shot an Espresso and go.  Its colourful red and yellow striped wall paper and small but cosy sitting area makes it a pretty place to stop and rest your weary feet after a morning of sightseeing.  Even the biscuits you are served with your coffee are phenomenal. Terzi reminded me a bit of a cross between a Viennese Cafe and an Italian one.  The staff are all exceptionally friendly and helpful, and I’d happily have stayed here all morning sampling their various coffees and teas.

Caffe Terzi, BolognaCaffe Terzi, Bologna

It’s tiny, so blink and you might miss it.  But make sure you make the effort to come here for at least one coffee, because it truly is the best coffee in town.

Caffe Terzi

Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 10/d

 

Blog, Czech Republic, Prague

Tricafe, Prague

April 11, 2016
Tricafe, Prague

I never realised Prague was so into their coffee until I went.  I love a good coffee, but wasn’t sure whether the standard wouldn’t be up to scratch.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  They are real coffee specialists.

A lot of the great coffee bars in Prague are in the more residential areas, so not in the touristy central.  One we found (recommended by the brilliant Taste of Prague) was Tricafe.  It’s small, it’s cosy and it serves excellent coffee.  And amazing coconut passion fruit cake.

Tricafe, Prague

Because of its size it can fill up quickly, but we managed to grab some seats at the back.  Here there are nice touches like a book case in the corner selling books for 150 czk (£4).

Tricafe, Prague

It’s a great place to recover from a long day of sightseeing.  We escaped the rain and planned the rest of our weekend, with the help of Rough Guides and Taste of Prague (you can buy their Prague Foodie Map from the super cute boutique Kurator down the road from Tricafe).

Tricafe, Prague

The service is excellent; friendly and efficient.  One of the staff was horrified to find we weren’t brought a carafe of water with our coffees/teas and rushed to get us one.  We didn’t find the service in Prague outstanding on the whole, but we loved it here.

Tricafe

Anenská 3, 110 00 Prague

Blog, Czech Republic, Prague

My Raw Cafe, Prague – HEALTHY

March 19, 2016

When I’m on holiday, my ‘healthy living’ goes out of the window.  I love my weekend breaks, and love my food, so won’t hold back on the eating front when in a new city.  But whichever destination I visit, I do try and find a healthy cafe.   Somewhere I can get a dose of greens and my quota of superfoods for the weekend.  I also find it interesting to see to what extent the health craze has taken hold in each city.

My Raw Cafe, Prague

Prague surprised me.  My Raw Cafe was the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon power juice, raw cheesecake and cashew milk coffee.  The only drawback about this place is that it’s in a shopping mall (well, Prague’s take on a mall), and that it doesn’t have much natural light, or views.  The mall was dead as we walked through it, and we were convinced it would be shut, but then we arrived and it was heaving.  This is clearly where the health-conscious locals come on the weekend.

My Raw Cafe, Prague

This is an ideal place for a weekend brunch, with a lot of great savoury options (all raw).  Or you can sink into one of their comfy armchairs, read the papers and enjoy a chilled afternoon.  It’s very laid back, the service is exceptionally friendly and – most importantly – the food is delicious.

We took down the raw blueberry cheesecake as if we hadn’t just had a huge lunch at Field (only about a 10 minute walk away).  They have a huge range of smoothies and cold-pressed juices, and any coffee you may wish, with the option of cashew/almond/soya milk.

My Raw Cafe, PragueMy Raw Cafe, Prague

So while I still most definitely recommend eating the six courses tasting menu at Sansho, and trying as many dishes as possible at Field, if you’re looking for something lighter, then brunch or a juice at My Raw Cafe will not go amiss.

If you want to go a little more off the beaten track, then I’d also highly recommend The Farm in the up and coming area of Letna, where they also do great brunches and juices.

My Raw Cafe

Dlouhá 39,

110 00 Praha 1-Staré M?sto

Argentina, Blog, Buenos Aires

Birkin, Buenos Aires – For a trendy breakfast in Palermo Botanico

December 27, 2015
Birkin, Buenos Aires
Palermo is known as Buenos Aires’ trendiest area.  But it’s quite vast, and divided into sub areas within it: Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Viejo – but it seems like the quieter and less touristic Palermo Botanico (on the edge and close to the zoo and the botanical gardens) is now very much on the up.  Birkin is a recommended cafe here, which is very popular with the locals but not yet with tourists.  Ideal.
But let’s start with what I didn’t like: the service. I was pretty much ignored for the first 10 minutes I was there. I found a table close to the front, and admired the interiors: the geometrical pattern on the floor, the designer lighting by the bar, the well used newspaper stand. There are tables outside too.  But this didn’t take away from the fact that I had to do my utmost to order a flat white (and later to get the bill – no tip for them!).
Birkin, Buenos Aires
Which quickly leads me on to the positives. The coffee was delicious. And the rest of the menu looked right up my street (though I’d just had a huge brunch at L’Orangerie at the Alvear Palace, so I couldn’t eat anymore food).  As mentioned previously, I also loved the interiors, and there was a lovely vibe – lots of locals; families, friends and couples all enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning.
Birkin, Buenos Aires
So if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by for a coffee. Or scrambled eggs with spinach.  And hopefully the staff will be more helpful than they were to me.
Birkin Coffee Bar
República Arabe Siria 3061
Palermo Botanico
Buenos Aires
Argentina, Blog

Negro. Cueva de Cafe, Buenos Aires – DRINK

November 11, 2015
Negro, Buenos Aires

Argentina is not known for its coffee, and during my trip through the country I did observe that the coffee was not quite up to the European standard. But Buenos Aires is different.  Apparently especially in the past few years the cafe scene has changed quite substantially, with lots of independent, quirky cafes cropping up which – most importantly – serve good coffee.

Negro, Buenos Aires
Negro is one of them, a caffeine triumph.  Located in central Buenos Aires, close to the famous Obelisk on Plaza de la República and the charming Plaza San Martin, this is slightly away from the touristy areas and as local as it gets. The interiors are all exposed brickwork, a bustling bar, and industrial-style lighting.  Locals come in to grab a take away coffee, others come in for their lunch break or even for a business meeting, and many just have a quick espresso and a croissant and then depart.  The coffee is excellent – and their coffee machine was branded Aurelia – so I liked it instantly. It’s a place you could easily expect in Soho (London).

Negro, Buenos AiresNegro, Buenos Aires
But almost the best thing were the people. Having stopped by quite a few cafes, I had found some staff to be quite unfriendly, or indifferent. Here it was the contrary, the staff were wonderful.  Helpful, curious, patient. As a solo blogger-tourist, I felt completely at ease here.

Negro, Buenos AiresNegro, Buenos Aires

Apart from a strong shot of espresso, I opted for their ginger lemonade and it was delicious. Refreshing and not too sweet – just what I needed after a morning of walking through the streets of Buenos Aires in the sun.

If you’re hungry then try 180 Burger Bar down the road, meant to be pretty good too.

Negro

Suipacha 637

Buenos Aires

Photo Credit: Negro

Barcelona, Blog, Spain

Federal Cafe, Barcelona – EAT

September 28, 2015
Federal Cafe, Barcelona

Some may say it’s a sin to go to an Australian cafe when you’re in Barcelona.  But Federal Cafe is an exception.  It’s a place which does brunch so well it can’t be missed, even if you’re in a city which offers some of the country’s best tapas and local cuisine.

So there are in fact two Federal Cafes in Barcelona, which I didn’t realise at first.  I went to the original, in the cosy neighbourhood of San Antoni, which is very popular with locals (so I didn’t feel too bad about abandoning tapas for brunch), but it also has a sister cafe in Gothic, which may be a little more central for some.

Federal Cafe, Barcelona

When I got the tour of Hotel Brummell (a stunning boutique hotel in Poble Sec, Barcelona), I fell in love with the interior design of the place.  I was told that the Australian duo who were responsible for the design, Blankslate, also had a brunch place:  Federal Cafe.  Funnily enough it was already on my hit list, and I could see some clear similarities in the design.  It has that slight Scandi feel (even though the place was inspired by the Aussie town Federal, near Byron Bay), with lots of wood and huge amounts of light and block colouring (I love their use of dark grey and bright yellow).  Their roof terrace was fully booked, so we sat inside on the first floor, by the wide open windows.   Downstairs there is one huge window which is completely open, and feels like you’re sitting outside.  I love it.

Federal Cafe, Barcelona

The menu offers exactly what I love for brunch.  It has the avocado/sourdough bread/poached egg combo which never goes amiss (but admittedly is not hugely original).  And then the epic french toast with poached pears and creme fraiche option.  Or a smoked salmon omelette.  And finally some seriously delicious Turkish eggs (and the presentation really wins here).

Federal Cafe, BarcelonaFederal Cafe, BarcelonaFederal Cafe, Barcelona

We found the service hit and miss, but the coffee so good it made up for it.

In short, it’s a keeper, whether it’s Spanish or not.   Should you find yourself in Spain and feel the need for a good Aussie brunch, then not only are there two Federal Cafes in Barcelona, but there’s also one in Madrid, and one opening soon in Valencia.

Federal Cafe, Barcelona

Federal Cafe

Carrer Parlament 39, Barcelona

Photos are my own

Amsterdam, Blog, Eat, Healthy

Pluk, Amsterdam – for the perfect healthy brunch

September 26, 2015
Pluk, Amsterdam

Pluk is one of those places which draws you in off the street.  A place so photogenic it will send the most expert of Instagrammers into a tizzy.  It looks good from every angle, with huge windows allowing lots of light in, bright white walls, vases spilling with beautiful flowers, and huge crates and baskets laden with fruit and vegetables.  It’s feminine and pretty, and makes you want to recreate the whole place at home.  It is exactly my kind of place, and possibly – dare I say it – one of my favourite cafes in Amsterdam.

Pluk, Amsterdam

So what is it?  It’s the place to come for a healthy brunch, but it’s also ideal for a take away sandwich, salad, coffee or juice (they have so many options).  Having been going through a health craze for close to two years, I’ve visited as many healthy cafes and restaurants in London as possible, and have always thought Amsterdam was fairly disappointing on that front.  But slowly but surely the health craze has reached Amsterdam, which is now reflected in the cafes, juice bars and restaurants which have opened in the past few year or two.  I love places like Lavinia’s, Dr Blend, Vinnie’s Deli and now Pluk.

Pluk, AmsterdamPluk, Amsterdam

Pluk seems to have really nailed it though.  With seating upstairs on the mezzanine level overlooking the cafe, you can easily spend your whole morning here, watching people come in and out.  Have an energy booster shot to start, and work your way though salmon salads, cold-pressed juices and delicious coffees.

Pluk, AmsterdamPluk, Amsterdam

It also sells pottery and trinkets, reminding me a little of Anthropologie.  And apart from that, it is in the heart of the ‘Nine Streets’, Amsterdam’s cutest little streets crossing the main ‘royal’ canals in the centre of town.  These streets are perfect for a weekend stroll, with so many great shops and other cafes and bars.  Pluk’s sister property Ree7, is a few doors down and looks just as inviting, with perhaps a slightly trendier, more masculine feel to it.  It’s another one of Amsterdam’s most popular brunch hangouts though, and is most definitely next on my list.

Pluk, Amsterdam

Pluk Amsterdam

Reestraat 19

1016 DM Amsterdam

Blog, Drink, London

Love Die Late, Fitzrovia

August 5, 2015
Love Die Late, Fitzrovia

I like places which serve excellent coffee by day, and then delicious cocktails by night.  A smart thing to do, especially in bustling Fitzrovia, when there are heaps of people around all day long.  Who need feeding and watering.

I suppose the concept isn’t dissimilar to the very lovely Bar Termini, though at Love Die Late they go through even greater efforts to transform the interiors of the place from ‘day’ to ‘night’.   As they say, they ‘physically’ transform themselves.  And they really do.

Love Die Late, Fitzrovia

I came here one Thursday evening, and clearly the ‘night’ theme was very much in swing.  Subdued lighting, coffee machine gone, cocktail shakers out.  Lots of overexcited girls shouting over their drinks.  Needless to say, despite the charming New York 1950s style interiors, we sat outside (there are a few tables on the pavement).  I love people watching in Fitzrovia anyway.

Love Die Late, Fitzrovia

Love Die Late, FitzroviaThe cocktail list isn’t too long but offers some interesting options.  Lucy went for the Epicolada with almond washed pineapple juice (a bit like a fancier Pina colada I suppose?), and I went for the Steeped in Blush (Raspberry infused gin, with honey cordial, lime and Angostura Bitter).  Both were refreshing and not too sweet.  Later we ordered some of their house wine and some rabbit food to nibble on.  All in all I liked the place, the service was very friendly and I still think the area around Oxford Street can do with more cocktails bars (though I do love the Cocktail Trading Co), so I’m happy about its location.

Love Die Late, FitzroviaLove Die Late, FitzroviaNow I need to go a Take 2 and head here for a day time coffee and a cake (they have some good gluten free options too), to check out the transformation into a ‘flirty and fun’ cafe.  And perhaps I’ll sit inside this time too.

Love Die Late, Fitzrovia

Love Die Late

114 Great Portland Street

London W1W 6PH

Blog, Drink, London

Bar Termini, Soho

December 15, 2014

A small blog for a small place.  But definitely worth writing about, as it’s very cute and charming, even at 11am on a Saturday morning.

Why I liked it:

1)      It reminds me of Italy 

The main station in Rome is called Termini, and this very Italian establishment, clearly done up in a ‘railway bar’ style (I love the suitcases tucked away above the sofa), takes me straight back to Italy.  It also helped that one of the waiters was Italian.  And charming.

Bar Termini, Soho

Bar Termini, Soho

Bar Termini, Soho

2)      It serves excellent coffee.

In the morning it’s very much a café – serving (seriously strong) knock out coffees.  Their Bianco (Cappuccino) was punchy, but those who appreciate good coffee with appreciate this.   And if you fancy a quick Espresso shot by the bar, it’s only £1. They offer fresh pastries from L’Anima Café in Shoreditch to accompany the coffee.  Marco Arrigo is in charge of the coffee, and has collaborated with Tony Conigliaro to set this bar up (see point 3).

Bar Termini, Soho

Bar Termini, Soho

3)      AND cocktails. 

As per point 2, Marco Arrigo has joined up with Tony Conigliaro (from the Zetter Townhouse) to set up Bar Termini.  Tony is in charge of the cocktails and the ‘aperitivo’ side of the bar.  Cocktails start at a very reasonable £6.50 (the Negronis) and they start serving alcohol from 11am onwards, so ideal for these festive days when drinking throughout the day is perfectly acceptable.  If you feel like a nibble then they also serve Italian small plates (it is aperitivo after all); the mini panini is a bargain at £1 (it is really mini though).

Bar Termini, Soho 

4)      The service.

As this place is truly tiny (30 covers at most), it is all a rather intimate affair.  The baristas/cocktail shakers were professional and friendly.  They serve water upon arrival.  And I like their outfits.

Bar Termini, Soho

Get there early if you’re coming for aperitivo, though you can just hang out by the bar if it’s busy.   Or pop by for a coffee to wake you up.  Just don’t miss this little slice of Italy in the midst of bustling Soho.

Bar Termini

7 Old Compton Street
Soho

07860 945018

Photos my own and Bar Termini’s

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