Notes Music & Coffee, St Martin’s Lane

Green Oolong, Notes Trafalgar Square
Green Oolong
Notes Music & Coffee
St Martin’s Lane
Notes Music & Coffee is one of those great places that you walk in and wonder why you have never been here before.

Except this case, I know why – I have tried to visit for tea a few times, but it’s always full.

This time I was with a friend, and even though it was busy, we managed to find seats at the back on long shared oak tables.

The space is pleasant with high ceilings and large arched mirrors, which make it feel larger than it is.

The tea is excellent. I had a green oolong, but was also impressed with Continue reading

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IKEA Cafe, Edmonton

English Breakfast, Ikea Edmonton cafe
English Breakfast tea
IKEA Edmonton
It is highly unlikely that you will be on the A406 looking for a cuppa, but having been on an extended tea-break recently, due to moving flat, I have discovered they actually do a very good cuppa at IKEA.

With the bank holiday coming up, you may be doing some home improvements, so this bit of info could save you from a lot of stress.

Trips to IKEA usually start well, but can soon become disorienting. After finding Continue reading

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Where to Buy Tea in London: Beijing Tong Ren Tang

Tong ren tang, Chinatown London
Flowering Tea
Beijing Tong Ren Tang
Walking along Shaftesbury Avenue, pondering where to get some nice tea, it suddenly occurred to me that I was near Chinatown – surely a good place to hunt down supplies.

At number 124 is Beijing Tong Ren Tang. I have gazed at the orange and gold facade many times from the excellent watch-the-world-go-by-window of the cafe of Curzon cinema on the opposite side of the street.

It never really occurred to me to think what they sold, Continue reading

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Little Georgia, Barnsbury Road

Tea at Little Georgia
Tea
Little Georgia
I hadn’t intended to write about the tea at Little Georgia, but a comment on my last post, Tinderbox cafe, gave new insight into the significance of the site.

As a tea lover and cricket fan, it is fantastic to discover I am living yards away from the site of an 18th century tea-garden, and the original site of Lord’s cricket ground; so I thought it worth a mention.

Rob Smith from Footprints of London kindly took the time to write: Continue reading

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Tinderbox Cafe, Angel Islington

Tinderbox Cafe The Angel
Green Sencha
Tinderbox
The Tinderbox cafe balcony floats above the entrance to the N1 shopping centre at Angel, Islington.

It’s easy to miss, but the entrance is just past the floating ‘halo’, that looks like a crown of thorns. Go up the stairs at the back of the take-away coffee booth.

The first floor opens into a long, boxy space with lots of different Continue reading

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Comptoir Libanais, Broadwick Street

Le Comptoir Libanais, Soho
Fresh Mint Tea
Le Comptoir Libanais
Soho
Having enjoyed a pomegranate tea at Le Comptoir Libanais, Wigmore Street in September, I was pleased to discover they have a new branch at a more central location in Soho.

Broadwick Street is close to Carnaby Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street but tucked away off the beaten track so a good place to know to get away from the crowds.

This time I was looking forward to trying the fresh mint tea. Served in a traditional silver teapot and a pretty glass, it was perfect with my honey-sweetened pastries.

The same silver teapots, brightly coloured baskets and exotic Continue reading

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Where to Buy Tea in London: The Tea House

Tea Pots The Tea House, Covent Garden
Cast Iron Tea Pots
The Tea House
Covent Garden
The exterior of The Tea House Covent Garden is reminiscence of a Japanese screen.
Black lacquer window frames form a grid on four levels – each square containing a display of teapots, cups and tea. Vermilion lettering enhances the oriental feel.

The shop has been on the same spot in Neal Street since 1982. It is good to see an independent still trading amongst the larger stores.

What I like best about The Tea House is their range of unusual Continue reading

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Tibits, Heddon Street

Tibits Heddon Street
Jasmine Tea Ball
Tibits
Heddon Street
In January at the same time as needing to ‘tighten our belts’, we may find our actual belts are quite tight after the Christmas feast.

For a reasonably priced, healthy lunch, dinner or to take tea, I really like Tibits, the Swiss-owned vegetarian restaurant on Heddon Street.

I enjoyed a delicious plate of fresh salads, bursting with colour and flavours; a welcome antidote to the holiday choc-fest.

Of the all the places to eat on Heddon St., Tibits is the most relaxed, with a take away as well as sit down service. The decor is clean and fresh, with blond wood and bold patterned Continue reading

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Booking Office, St Pancras station

Tea, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Jasmine tea
St Pancras
Booking Office
St Pancras station was famously saved from developers in the 1960s due to a campaign by John Betjeman and the Victorian Society.

Betjeman vividly described St Pancras as:

“…that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill…outlined against a foggy sunset…the great arc of Barlow’s train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street.”

Today, a statue of Betjeman by Martin Jennings stands on the upper Continue reading

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Roast + Conch, Hotel Chocolat, Covent Garden

Hotel Chocolat, Seven Dials
Jasmine Tea
Roast and Conch
Hotel Chocolat, Monmouth Street is easy to find; simply follow your nose and outside no. 4 you will perceive a sweet aroma in the air.

Peer in the window, and the source of the smell, a metallic contraption, is roasting cocoa beans in preparation for making chocolate.

Inside, the shelves are laden with chocolate; slabs, blocks and truffles, all manner of shapes and flavours.

Descend the wrought-iron spiral staircase to Roast and Conch where the beans are ‘conched‘ to make small batches of chocolate. Continue reading

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Spicy Masala Chai

Masala Chai
Masala Chai
and Revels
November in London. We all feel a bit snuffly and may feel like staying under the duvet till March.

This spicy masala chai is easy to prepare. It will clear your head, and give you a lovely warm glow.

Based on this recipe from Anjum Anand; I didn’t have all the spices, so used the following:

6 peppercorns
10 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Small piece cinnamon stick
5 or 6 cloves
Black tea
Milk (optional) Continue reading

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ICA Café, The Mall

Cafe ICA, Mall
English Breakfast Tea
ICA Cafe
Earl Grey was Prime Minister of the British Isles from 1830-34. Famous for having a type of tea named after him, he lived at number 13 Carlton House Terrace.

Next door, at number 12, the Institute of Contemporary Arts has a lovely café, that serves a good cup of tea all these years later.

The ICA was formed in the 1940’s by Surrealist Roland Penrose and anarchist Herbert Read as a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. It has been in the Mall since the sixties.
Today, there is an art house cinema, gallery space, and art bookshop. They stock an impressive range of art theory books with zippy titles Continue reading

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Where to buy tea in London: East India Company

East India Company Tea Shop
East India Company
Tea
The East India Company’s extraordinary and influential history stretches back to 1600 when it was established by a Royal Charter from Elisabeth I.
Over the years it had its own army, and flag – said to be the inspiration for the U.S. Stars and Stripes.
The Company’s dealings led directly to British rule in India and its system of organisation was precursor to the British civil service. Continue reading

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