One thing that used to put me off London quite a bit was the difficulty of finding somewhere decent for a cup of tea & slice of cake. Somewhere quirky & cosy and distinctly non-Starbucksy. Well my opinion has been altered… updated… due to the serendipitous find of a certain book in the store of my dreams – Anthropologie, on Regent Street. The book is entitled “Tea & Cake London” and I happened to have a few hours spare before Seb finished work on a Friday afternoon. I looked up my postcode on my phone (I love Googlemaps so much!) and flicked through the book for a nearby tea destination… and off I went.
Foxcroft & Ginger, Soho
And it just so happens that around the corner, in Soho, is a funny little tucked-away haunt called “Foxcroft & Ginger” (one of two… the other is in Shoreditch). This cafe serves really good leaf teas – I had an elderflower & ginger tea – and an inviting spread of sandwiches & cakes. Most of the place is in the basement, decked out with funky wallpaper, gymnastics horses for tables, and comfy cushioned benches. I ended up there more than once in the same weekend… it’s just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street!
Gail’s Bakery, Wardour Street
Close to Foxcroft & Ginger is Walton Street… which I know for its enormous music shop ‘Chappell’s of Bond Street’ – my mecca for sheet music. It seems that this street is now a haven for good tea & coffee shops, including some good albeit chain places. The one above is Gail’s Bakery – which has an amazing display of breads and a nice feel for stopping by for tea. Seb & me shared a pot of tea & half a loaf of caramelised onion bread on our previous trip to London, and ended up chatting for hours & being served free latte, brownies & biscuits! We must have made the place look alive or something… or perhaps we looked like rather poor students!
Hummingbird Bakery, Wardour Street
Almost opposite this it the now well-known & still growing chain the Hummingbird Bakery, full of cupcakes & delicious pop-arty cakes & decoration. My only disappointment was the lack of cafe-feel – this is more of a takeaway shop, though there are a few chairs to sit in too.
Rose’s Bakery, Mayfair
Seb & me quickly became bored with shopping on Oxford Street & decided to try finding another interesting cafe – it’s become rather a hobby these days. From TimeOut London’s guide to coffee shops we thought that the Rose Bakery sounded interesting. Little did we know we would have to scale 4 floors of an unparalleled in style, price & self-conscious uber-trendy “market” to reach it. The cafe was pretty pricy too, but its amaretto & walnut cake and French-style tea was good, and there was an interesting rooftop view to be had too!
John Lewis / Caffe Nero…
There is still a time and a place for chain-coffee shops. A stop at Caffe Nero after meeting at the station in the evening for a coffee & catchup before going home. Sneaking in Cannelés which I brought back from France & chilling out on the comfy sofas for a while. Using a free tea & cake voucher at John Lewis, between shopping on Oxford Street. But nothing beats the satisfaction of discovering something quirky & different.
Of course, the next time I found myself in Anthropologie, the book was gone – having been in the wrong place when I found it. However, the Tea & Cake London book will definitely be making its way onto my shelf soon!