Tag Archives: bookshop

W Café, Waterstones, Piccadilly

Waterstones Cafe Piccadilly
English Breakfast
W Cafe
Waterstones Piccadilly
After visiting the Royal Academy to see the (excellent) Daumier exhibition, I was naturally in need of tea.

The main restaurant at the RA is lovely, but a bit formal for a quick cuppa.

There is a smaller café, but it is squashed in a corridor by the lift. Also they serve tea in a paper cup – which is not what I was after.

So I stepped into Piccadilly to search for a nice cup of tea, preferably in a china cup.

A turn up for the books(hops) (sorry for weak pun), was the (more…)

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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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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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Tea at Three, Dr Johnson’s House

Dr Johnson's House, Gough Square
Tea in the Parlour
Dr Johnson’s House

Number 17 Gough Square is the charming 18th century townhouse where Samuel Johnson compiled his ‘Dictionary of the English Language’.
It is well worth a visit to this small museum.

The rooms are laid out as they would have been in Dr Johnson’s time.
Great care has been taken to restore the wood-panelling to the original muted paint colours.

The house is peaceful and atmospheric, the library is my favorite room with its soft yellow paintwork and light flooding in from high windows. You can also leaf over a facsimile of the famous dictionary. (more…)

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Friends Meeting House, Euston

Clipper Tea, Friends meeting House Euston
Peaceful Cuppa
Friends meeting House
Euston

The forecourt of Euston Station is often crowded and full of fast-food outlets, not a particularly pleasant place for a reviving cuppa on arrival from the North of England. Robert Stephenson‘s statue looks on grimly over proceedings.

Happily, just over Euston Road is Friends Meeting House.
This oasis of quiet and calm contemplation, was the first place Gandhi visited on his trip in 1931, possibly for the very nice cup of tea.

Friends Meeting House Euston is the headquarters of the Quakers in Britain, and home to the Quaker Centre Cafe. All the products are fair trade, and you can buy ethically sourced delicacies (more…)

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The Wellcome Collection Cafe, Euston Road

Lapsang Tea at the Wellcome Collection cafe, Euston Road
Lapsang tea
Wellcome Collection
Euston Road
Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) was a unique and extraordinary individual. ‘Pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector’.
The Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, a ‘Destination for the Incurably Curious’ is a wonderful place to visit.
An ongoing series of fascinating temporary exhibitions focus on life, science and art.
Medicine Man, a permanent exhibition on 4th floor shows a small selection of Henry’s collection. I felt quite sorry for Mrs Wellcome!

The cafe, run by Peyton and Byrne, has a fresh, contemporary feel. The lights are shaped like laboratory flasks that hypnotically change colour.
(more…)

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Tea and Tattle, Bloomsbury

Tea and Tattle, Bloomsbury
Darjeeling
Tea and Tattle
Bloomsbury
Arthur Probsthain is an independent family-run bookshop, established in 1903.
Specialising in books from and about, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with a branch at the School of African and Oriental Studies.
My favorite places to visit are India and Turkey, so coming across this bookshop was a very happy discovery indeed.
(more…)

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