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 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.
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.
We went to One o One in Amersham on Saturday with my brother and sister in law as they live there. It is in the new bit not the ye olde bit. It was jolly nice. Local Italian, run by local Italians. They were twinkly of eye, kissed my sister in law, patted my brother on the back and gave away a free dessert. And the food was good too. Although I had eggs on toast so didn’t really taste the food proper, the eggs were creamy and not too done and I also had a tomato and onion salad, which was generously sized. Everyone else had pasta or pizza and it smelled and looked very appetising.
We had wine, coffee and pudding and the bill was about £20 each. The place was rammed, the place is obviously popular. It is the sort of restaurant you don’t get in London anymore really, except perhaps in the villagey bits like Stoke Newington (although I haven’t been there for a while). It’s not remotely trendy and it might not stand up to the food twitterati but people like eating there and the staff look like they enjoy working there, the rest doesn’t really matter.
Scandinavian kitchen is in Great Tichfield Street, which is looking increasingly good for food (Salt Yard, Riding House Cafe, Kaffeine). I am not going to give an in depth review here (tired and weary), however we had open sandwiches, good coffee and lovely, sticky banana cake. And there were fairly good veggie choices. There is also a shop to peruse as you wait. Splendid.
These are some boiled eggs we ate for lunch in Vienna. We tend to over rely on eggs for lunch when we are away, particularly if propelled into a hunger panic due to cold weather, unfamiliarity with good, vegetarian friendly, lunch spots and a reluctance to eat a large schnitzel. Although, as Joff says, who would ever find out…