The Four Corners Cafe

WP_000673The Four Corners Café on Lower Marsh is a new addition to this street just behind Waterloo that has managed, against the odds, to preserve its independent character. The café serves Ozone coffee and sells loaves of Balthazar bread as well as sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries. As it name suggests there is travel theme, although it took me a little while to detect it, but maybe I’m just slow. The service was friendly and the coffee good, with the requisite small bubbles and liquorish taste. There was not a huge range of sandwiches on a Saturday but the cheese and salad, which we had toasted, was freshly made, crispy and cheesy, which is all that it can be really. the pastries look good but we didn’t actually eat any and a small selection of cakes, mostly brownies form memory again looked good is a little limited in range.

The place had a nice, local buzz and there is a groovy looking Lego table in the centre. Not too expensive, good food and coffee, chipper service, only advice would be to perhaps expand the range little. So far so good…

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Four Corners café on Urbanspoon

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Damson and Co

Damson and Co is a small coffee shop on Brewer Street which is fairly new and very ‘of the moment’. It serves a variety of dishes that you can have at any time of the day, including boiled eggs, eggs Florentine, breakfast muffins, cheese, charcuterie, cakes and sandwiches. No Brunch served until 1, lunch until 2 … Continue reading

Coffee Geekery

042 So this is a strange post, today we happened across a coffee bar inside a bar (bar at night coffee shop by day) which I think was called Pop Up, mainly because it probably is a pop up. It is opposite the Milk Bar on Bateman street and is fantastic. The coffee is that licorishy, small bubbled, anitpodean brew that I love (£2.50 for a flat white). There is cofee geekery text on the back of the menu and young dudes with excessive and well groomed facial hair make coffee and brunch. The menu is short: scrambled egg sandwich (£2.50) with extras, carrot cake, porridge and one other item which I have forgotten.  The egg sandwich was eggy, salty and buttery and served in crusty, toasted bloomer; what more could you want? The tables are copper topped and small, big enough to perch  cocktail or a beer on for its night time incarnation. Oh, and the vending machine in the men’s loos sells, condoms, mints, anti perspirant and gaviscon.

I can’t post a link to anywhere as I can’t find it  in Google land.

Orchard

WP_000620Orchard Kitchen is owned by the team behind Vanilla Black, a high end vegetarian restaurant in the city which I have not yet been to. Orchard is a vegetarian cafe on Sicilian Avenue currently open from 8.00-8.00 Monday to Saturday.

Firstly it is vegetarian which may put some off, and secondly it is styled in the sort of ‘remember the war, remember rationing’ style which is now being marketed to the generation that quite clearly could not possibly remember the war. By that I mean artfully chipped tin cups, whitewashed bricks, 1940s style waitresses and plain wooden tables.  All done in a way which looks inexpensive but is not. I love this style, although I feel slightly guilty about doing so but am not quite sure why. It is also populated by people who  have the whiff of that time period, there was the odd waisticoat, a woman in a black cape, a touch of artful facial hair and a woman with a dog. Everyone looked very neat and clean.

The food is all vegetarian. It’s a vegetarian cafe. I am vegetarian so I was very pleased by this. There is nothing so relaxing as being able to order anything you like from a menu, and it doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion.  We, unadventurous souls that we are, had sandwiches and cake. I had white bean pate with cherivl (I think) and assorted, picked fresh from the garden looking leaves in home made raisn bread. Joff had an egg sandwich with herbs and leaves in granary bread. They were both excellent and surpassed pretty much any other sandwich I have had for a long while. The bread was soft and fresh and made you want to eat an entire loaf, the use of herbs lifted them out of the ordinary and it was so nice to choose from stuff that wasn’t limited to cheese or egg. They did have a goats cheese on but I didn’t try it, next time.

We then shared a buckwheat coffee cake with an espresso buttercream that was deliciously bitter sweet. The coffee (we had flat whites) was rich and licorishy and served in delicate tea cups, as you can see from the blurry photo. The whole thing set us back £18 and it was entirely worth it.

Other offerings included eggy bread (that I do remember) with potatoes and some ‘small plates’ which included mini marmite baked potatoes. It is a lovely place serving lovely food and I will definitely go back. I wish more cafes and coffee shops would serve imagintive vegetarian food without having to corner themselves in the niche market of being totally vegetarian.  Until that happens this will do nicely.
Orchard on Urbanspoon

Jubilee Coffee

Jubilee coffee at Fresh and Wild (Wholefoods), the new giant and shiny version in Piccadilly Circus. Fresh and Wild is one of our favourite haunts in town, where I like nothing better than to spend many tens of pounds on fairly ordinary vegetables and tofu based products.

A new branch has opened in Piccadilly, just by the tube and next to a new UGG store (which is just weird). It is spacious, has a wider range of takeout or eat in hot and cold food and a bakery section. When we were there during the Jubilee there was a 1950s style band playing, which was jolly but a little loud as we were politely nibbling at our sandwiches. If you have a bit of a food fetish and enjoy ogling nicely stacked items most of which you will never buy, then it is the perfect place. They have samples to try and a largish cheese counter as well as gluten free stuff if you are so inclined.

Top Tip: Ask for an extra shot in the coffee.

The Delaunay

This is a very late posting and I didn’t take a single photograph. So here is a photo of an egg as I ate an egg dish. We took my mother and step father to The Delaunay  as a thank you for an extravagant family Christmas in Norfolk. There had been a lot of twitter (and witter) written about it already, some of the established food critics liking it and the food bloggerati pretty much unanimously disliking it.

The criticism seemed to be mainly that it was a posh restaurant with white tablecloths, didn’t specialise in ribs or dogs or burgers and took reservations. But perhaps I am trivializing it. Oh, and there was much discussion on whether you would be given a good table if you weren’t a celebrity.

I booked a table for four and yes you had a two hour time limit which I hate, but that hate is not reserved especially for The Dealunay but for all restaurants these days as they all seem to do it. The waiting staff let us sit there for almost three hours before whispering in my ear that there were in fact people waiting. The late shift crowd did look quantitatively different, more sort of botoxy and wearing dresses with not much holding them up and a lot of heel.

One of the main reasons that I chose The Delaunay, apart from the white table cloths and the nice wooden, old European feel of the room, was that it had an extensive vegetarian menu. something lacking from the trendier, blogger friendly restaurants. No, the food was not adventurous, my mother had Schnitzel, Joff had something with mushrooms on, my stepfather had omelette Arnold Bennett followed by a cheese savoury and I had a herb omelette and chips. We also had ice cream and Joff had an apple strudel and I can’t remember what we had for starters but I know that we ate a lot. The wines were not too extortionate and came in a glass, a carafe and a bottle. I do like it when restaurants sell carafes of wine, I had white with my mother Joff had red and my stepfather had beer.

The omelette was the best I have ever had and my mother loved the schnitzel, in fact everybody loved everything. It is comfort food but they cater well for vegetarians, it is the perfect place to take your mother, it wasn’t ruinously expensive, the service was fantastic and we all left feeling happily full, wine flushed and very happy. Yes, it is conservative and not even remotely edgy but sometimes that is just what you want and a smart restaurant where I don’t have to eat rissotto and where Joff and I can eat different things is always going to be a winner.