Tag Archives: recommended

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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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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HR Higgins, Duke Street, Mayfair

HR Higgins Tea Mayfair London
Chamomile Tea
HR Higgins
Mayfair
Someone should make a film about HR Higgins Coffee Man esq.. The tale of how he started his coffee roasting enterprise in wartime London is heroic stuff.

Evading incendiary bombs, showing cunning in getting a licence to trade; featuring characters with one leg, and help along the way from Misses Fox and Jenkins of South Moulton Street – whose cake kitchen saved the day – makes for a fascinating and jaunty read.

I imagine Trevor Howard in the leading role…but I’m getting carried away. (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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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, (more…)

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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 (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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Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane

Tea at Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane
Beijing Breakfast
from Laoshan Mountain
Shangdong Province

‘…the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’

T.S. Elliot.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Prufrock coffee has a reputation bar none in the world of the coffee geek. I hope they don’t mind being referred to as geeks as they are charming and friendly folk, but the lengths they go to make a brew are impressive.
No flicking the kettle on here, this is a veritable laboratory of caffeine. Chrome contraptions to weigh, time, filter and take temperature.
(more…)

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Canteen, Covent Garden

Canteen Covent Garden
English Breakfast
Canteen
Covent Garden
‘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…)

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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…)

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Where to Buy Tea in London: Postcard Teas

Where to buy tea London, Postcard Teas
Postcard Teas
Postcards Teas travel extensively in Asia, working with small-scale producers to find the finest teas which you can buy from 9 Dering Street, a former 18th century grocers shop.
The lovely calm space has tea simply displayed and beautifully packaged in brushed metal canisters; each with a unique postcard and (more…)

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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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