Tag Archives: arty

Kusmi Tea, Marylebone High Street

White Tea Kusmi Tea Marylebone High Street
White Tea
Kusmi Tea
Marylebone High Street
Tea makes a wonderful gift, and Kusmi Teas exotic and colourful packaging means you don’t even need wrapping paper.

With its fashionable Gallic style and visual flair, I had assumed that Kusmi was originally a Parisian company.

But as I discovered on their website, Kusmi was started 140 years ago by a P.M. Kousmichoff, the son of a Russian peasant. There is a London connection as his son came here in 1907 to hone his tea blending skills.

After a long history involving escaping from the Reds and surviving being run by arty-types, Kusmi now have a branch on Marylebone High Street. (more…)

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Tate Britain Café, Millbank

Tate Britain cafe London
Darjeeling
Tate Britain Café
The café at Tate Britain is having a refit. Meanwhile, there are two temporary tea places, each an improvement on the former facilities.

I entered the gallery from Atterbury Street, which is interesting as you can still see damage to the side of the Tate’s wall from WW2 bombing raids.

I was excited to find David Tremlett’s Drawing for Free Thinking on the staircase. I had first seen his work in July while enjoying green tea at Fernandez and Wells splendid rooms in Somerset House.

The Manton Café is a light-filled space at the rear of the Duveen Gallery. Large windows, (more…)

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National Dining Rooms, Trafalgar Square

National Gallery cafe, tea
Ceylon Orange Pekoe
National Dining Rooms
National Gallery
The National Gallery started modestly in 1824 when 38 paintings – the collection of banker John Julius Angerstein – were bought for the nation for £57,000.

Originally housed at Mr Angerstein’s home at 100 Pall Mall, it was considered an embarrassment when compared with other national collections. Particularly the Louvre in Paris.

Not wanting the French to get one over on us, Trafalgar Square was chosen as the site of a new building which opened in 1838*.

The National Gallery now has over 2300 paintings. It is without doubt one of the finest galleries on the planet, containing some of the highlights of western art (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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London Review Cake Shop, Bloomsbury

London Review Cafe Bloomsbury
White Peony with Rosebuds
London Review Cake Shop
The London Review Bookshop is one of London’s finest. A lovely, peaceful book-lover’s oasis in Bloomsbury, and just steps away from the British Museum. It also has a tea and cake shop.

I am greeted by lady with a lovely warm smile and handed a tea menu.
This lists an impressive choice of teas from Jing, including silver needles and phoenix honey orchid oolong.

There is a description of each tea with a QR code which links to videos about the tea and how it is produced.
I chose a white peony with whole rosebuds which was served in a pretty (more…)

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Restaurant at Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

Restaurant Royal Academy, London
Japanese Cherry Tea
Restaurant Royal Academy

The Royal Academy Summer Show along with Wimbledon and the Test Match at Lord’s is a regular mid-summer London fixture. Anyone can submit artwork and in 2012, the 244th year, over 11,000 artists applied to be hung next to David Hockney, Anselm Kiefer and Gary Hume.

Visiting the show can be overwhelming, with many different styles of artwork hung all the way up high walls. A colourful, kaleidoscopic patchwork quilt.

Cornelia Parker’s ‘Now and Then’ caught my eye. Featuring one silver teapot suspended above another (squashed) teapot. (more…)

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Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden

The Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street
Assam
Poetry in a Cup

Poetry and a cup of tea, a perfect combination:

“We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week…
The bottom is out of the Universe”

Maybe not Kipling’s finest, but I was looking for a tea poem, and, coincidentally a kind tweeter sent it to me.

Poetry Place is the headquarters of The Poetry Society, an organisation that host various events, poetry readings, competitions, exhibitions etc. (more…)

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Camera Cafe, Bloomsbury

Camera Cafe, Bloomsbury
Pot of Tea
Camera Cafe
Bloomsbury

Opposite the British Museum among the postcard shops and a few uninspiring looking cafes is Aperture Camera shop.
Glass cabinets display an amazing array of lenses and photographic paraphernalia.
Go to the back of the shop, and, as if walking through the looking-glass, it transmutes into a delightful little cafe!

Camera Cafe is small and cosy, with a laid-back, jazzy, bohemian feel. There are shelves of photography books, boards games and National Geographic Magazines.

(more…)

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Candid Café, Angel, Islington

Green Tea, Candid Cafe, Angel, Islington
Angelic Green Tea
Candid Arts Cafe
Islington
Tucked away in Torrens Street, behind the Angel tube station is a converted warehouse, home to the Candid Arts Trust.

They promote the arts via an artists network, along with studio hire, life-drawing classes. and are to host regular art fairs and annual degree shows.

The Café is on second floor, up a scruffy staircase, as befits the bohemian vibe – don’t be fazed – keep going you are in right place! (more…)

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