With the weekend upon us, a quick mention for Gail’s Bakery, Soho in appreciation of them opening till 10pm in the evening and 7pm on Sunday.
Most cafés close at 6pm, so this is a great if you are in the West End in the evening and, instead of a crowded pub, what you really fancy is a nice cup of tea.
Gail’s has a smart, clean urban interior. White-washed brick work, herringbone parquet floor, white lacquer counter-top contrast with pillar-box red stools and teapots. Set on a corner, there is seating around a large table at the rear and adjacent to the high windows.
“Hot town summer in the city back if my neck feeling dirty and gritty…” Lovin’ Spoonful
Summertime in central London. It’s full of folk, it’s noisy, it’s sweaty, it’s chaotic and you can’t breath…but it is a great time of year for walking.
The sunshine, clear light and blue sky enhances the simple pleasure of looking up at buildings – now in vivid colour instead of the more usual monochrome.
Summer is also the perfect time for tea. For us Brits it is also when we traditionally ponder the eternal conundrum ‘does tea cool you down as much as a cold drink?’. (more…)
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 (more…)
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.
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…)
‘Convent’ Garden was the 13th century kitchen garden of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster.
In 1630 the Duke of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones to build houses ‘fit for the habitations of gentleman’. Inspired by trips to Italy, he created Covent Garden Piazza – the first open square in England.
Market stalls have been trading in the area since the mid-17th century. When the fire of London destroyed smaller markets, it became the most important fruit, veg and flower market in the country.
In 1973 the market was relocated to Nine Elms and Covent Garden faced demolition. It was saved by campaigners, and is now a lively area of shops and (more…)
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…)
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…)