Tag Archives: great setting

The Restaurant St Paul’s Cathedral

Restaurant St Pauls cathedral
Darjeeling
St Pauls Cathedral
Wandering through the City after seeing the Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London, I thought I saw an emerald on the pavement. It was just a bit of broken glass, but such is the effect of the treasures on show.

I recommend the exhibition to anyone interested in London – layers of history are peeled away to a magical place just beneath our feet. Magnifying glasses are provided, and I particularly enjoyed studying the amazing detail in the accompanying paintings.

I later came to St Paul’s Cathedral and decided to stop for tea.
The crypt has a self-service cafe, where (more…)

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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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Kahve Dünyası, Piccadilly

Kahve dunyasi London
Jasmine Green Tea
Kahve Dünyasi
Piccadilly
While enjoying a lovely pot of Jasmine Green tea in the wonderful Kavye Dunyasi, Turkish cafe on Piccadilly I felt an odd sense of déjå vu.

I assumed it was because I had visited last year on the recommendation of a friend.

On that occasion, I sat down and ordered cuppa, but was told they didn’t do tea (?!). Naturally I made my excuses and went elsewhere…

They must have had a lot of folk suddenly remembering they had to be elsewhere, as they now serve a range of tea; Peppermint, Chamomile, White, English breakfast etc.. (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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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 (more…)

Posted in CENTRAL, Kings Cross, LONDON, RAILWAY STATIONS | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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…)

Posted in CENTRAL, MUSEUMS/GALLERIES, Trafalgar Square | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Caravan, King’s Cross

Caravan Kings Cross
Green Tea
Caravan Kings Cross
The extraordinary redevelopment of the area around Kings Cross Station continues apace. Since the Eurostar terminal arrived at St Pancras in 2007, the area has seen the opening of King’s Place – a canal side arts centre and home of the Guardian newspaper; the restoration and reopening of Sir Gilbert Scott’s much-loved Midland Hotel and an impressive new roof at Kings Cross Station.

Recently Granary Square, an expansive cobbled space north of Regents Canal, has opened, making apparent the scale of the final project (it even has a new postcode, NC1).
Formerly a canal basin where barges unloaded their goods, (more…)

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Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House

Toms Somerset House
English Breakfast
Tea Tom’s Kitchen
One my recent visit to Samuel Johnson’s House, I bought a booklet of essays entitled ‘Tea and coffee in the age of Dr Johnson’; a fascinating insight into the coffee houses of 18th century London.
I learned that one of the early coffee shops was called Tom’s. Established by Thomas Twining in 1706 nearby the shop on Strand that sells tea to this day. Tom’s had a library and was ‘…a place renowned for its polite and scholarly interests’*. Further up Fleet Street was Nando’s coffee shop (perhaps shortened from Fernando’s).

I am reminded of this 300 odd years later, and (more…)

Posted in CENTRAL, Covent Garden, MUSEUMS/GALLERIES, Strand | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Momo Cafe, Heddon Street

Momo Heddon Street
Five o’clock Tea
MoCafe
Heddon Street loops off Regent Street towards the Piccadilly end. In 1973 Ziggy Stardust landed with his Spiders from Mars at no. 23 and changed the world. An old red telephone box, featured the back of the album cover, sits in the far corner, past a bar where everything, including the glasses is made of ice (useless for tea cup!).

Forty years on, Heddon Street has been branded, a bit clumsily, as ‘Food Quarter.’ There is a good choice of restaurants, many with tables outside. It is car-free so has a pleasant, courtyard feel.

Momo restaurant, with its impressive Moroccan inspired interior, has been (more…)

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Les Deux Salons, William IV Street

Les Deux Salons, Brasserie
White Tea
Les Deux Salons

A couple of steps from Trafalgar Square you can enjoy a cup of tea in elegant surroundings evocative of 19th century Paris.

The interior of Brasserie Les Deux Salons is beautiful, with its dark wood panelling, long copper topped bar and black and white mosaic floor.

The bar area, where you can take tea, has a delightful mismatch of padded chairs and little sofas upholstered with carpet.

A choice of teas include Assam, Darjeeling and a green mulberry a ‘dark roasted hojicha from Mr Obayashi tea who makes tea for the emperor of Japan’. (more…)

Posted in CENTRAL, Trafalgar Square | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Fernandez & Wells, Somerset House

Fernandez and Wells, restaurant Somerset House
Kyoto Green Tea
Fernandez & Wells
Somerset House
Somerset House, originally a Tudor Palace, has been home to Elizabeth I, the Navy and the Royal Academy of Art. It has seen routs and masquerades, and has fallen into ruin – ‘…the haunt of spectres…magicians and murderers.’
The free tour gives an excellent overview of it’s extraordinary history.
It was fascinating to visit the lightwells – underground alleyways visible from the courtyard – and the ‘Dead Room’, with it’s Catholic gravestones.
Easy to see why Somerset House is used by film crews as an atmospheric London location.

The Courtyard is a fantastic space, unique in London. The East wing is home to an eatery, and very fine place for a cup of tea. (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…)

Posted in City, MUSEUMS/GALLERIES | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments