For the longest time, I’ve wanted to go to Pump Street Bakery. Ever since I worked at England Preserves where we jammed and supplied Seedless Raspberry jam for their doughnuts, I was pretty motivated to go visit them. Afterwards, when their chocolate range became better-known in London, places such as Quality Chop House retailed their Sourdough & Sea Salt 66% chocolate bars. (This chocolate is amazing, with sourdough crumbs and a sprinkle of sea salt – a genuine must try). I would then see the Pump Street Bakery showcasing at the Speciality Food Fair and the like. At this point, I was so incredibly curious and entranced about what they do. It felt like some sort of mythical quest, I mean I’m never in the Norfolk/Suffolk corner of England.
I’ve never really been to visit the Finchley area. I rarely leave the tube station when swapping the Met line for the Jubilee, or vice versa. From what I had seen, up until Lanka, Finchley Road was pretty full to the brim with chains and those standard conglomerate coffee shops.
However, the other day I stumbled upon a straight up gem just around the corner from the station. A literal hop, skip and a jump leads you to a French Patisserie and Ceylon Tea Room. Although, to call it a French Patisserie is selling it a bit short.
On a very soggy September morning, I found myself in Hampstead, not wanting to waste the opportunity of being in this little corner of London that I don’t normally visit. So instead of returning to an empty, albeit dry, flat, I wandered around soaked, amusing myself by finding the gems of this little village in London’s zone 2. I frequented a food market, one grocer’s and two cafes and discovered that if you don’t know what to do in Hampstead, and are feeling a little peckish, want to window shop to your pantry’s content or need a little caffeine boost, then these four places are solid contenders.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of incessant chocoholic but I love bar, a tempered square, a cocoa powdered truffle as much as the next guy. Come winter though with the temperature plummeting into the negatives and frost biting at our heels, what I yearn for is a luxuriously rich, deep, nuanced hot chocolate. A comfort cup that chases away all the icicles. Here I’ll share my two favourite places that justly provides this de-icing service: Rabot 1745 at Borough Market and Melt in Notting Hill.
I can’t even tell you for how long I’ve wanted to go to Dishoom. But I can assure you, it feels like my entire life. So at long last, my friend came to London for the weekend and on a whim, I thought this is the day I go to Dishoom – and the best day it was. I don’t know what I expected the interior to look like but I was taken aback by how simply stunning it is. I immediately channelled my inner Tigger and bounced about with excitement about the sheer beauty and class of the space around me. Dishoom had bewitched me and I hadn’t even gotten to the food yet.
I am guilty. Guilty of jumping aboard that flat white bandwagon and forgoing my former admiration for a wet latte for something better executed and stronger. So it was due time that I wandered myself into Soho to hit up the importer of the flat white to the UK, having brought this coffee favourite from down under to serve the tired people of Central London. Sister cafes, brothers from the same espresso mother, caffeine cousins – Flat White and Milkbar duo have forevermore staked their claim as flat white bandwagon creators.