Posts Tagged ‘Covent Garden’

V60 at The Espresso Room

December 9, 2018

Saturday in London, looking forward to a V60, I detour to The Espresso Room, which luckily I find still open.

Too late to eat at Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, Saturday evening there will be a long wait as very popular, I go on a detour to The Espresso Room, which I find open, open until seven.

I abandon all hope of eating at Home Slice, as there will be a long wait.

They remember me, I get a free coffee, as bought a bag of coffee on my last visit.

A Lithuanian girl makes me V60 using Kemyan coffee. Excellent. Best coffee all day. Very fruity.

We chat long gone closing time.

Available free Clipper. An example of a free magazine of quality. Comparable with Independent Life, a free magazine in Leeds and York.

On my last visit I was given direction to a shop selling Standart, Drift. I could not find. I followed directions, head down Monmouth Street to Seven Dials.

I learn a vital piece of information was missing, in Shorts Gardens.

Saturday in London

December 9, 2018

Saturday in London in December not the best time to visit London.

Many people waiting for train. Train only five coaches, overcrowded, passenger standing. Come January when the rail fares go up, the rail companies will tell us the rise is justified due to improving train services.

Arrive Waterloo Station 2-30 early afternoon, time to wander into Lower Marsh, have a coffee, maybe look at South Bank Street Food Market then on to Covent Garden, lunch in Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, then maybe visit a coffee shop or two, then on to City of My Mind album launch party in Old Street, or so I thought. Though I would have preferred to have arrived lunchtime better still midday, but got up late.

Lower Marsh has a street food market in the week, today a craft market.

Lower Marsh, hidden behind Waterloo Station, is one of those up and coming places that has not yet arrived, but well worth exploring.

Long chat with Jessica Moscrop with her stall JesSpoke, her own designs, though I wish I had asked her more about her work. Far better than the overpriced tat I see in Guildford High Street or at the Farnham Maltings markets.

Then to find Four Corners.

I look in Balance, a new coffee, maybe look in later.

I do not see Love & Scandal. Maybe no more, I see a new building going up.

I pass Colman Coffe. I have never found open.

Four Corners have a van outside Waterloo Station. I have a feeling I have looked in their coffee shop before, as looks vaguely familiar. It was through encountering their van that I was looking for their coffee shop.

I order a cappuccino. Blended with cocoa. Why, why use Ozone coffee, then ruin with cocoa? I cannot be bothered sending back.

On the way I encountered drunken idiots in Santa costumes, more and more and kept turning up. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Impossible walk down the street. Eventually coffee shop door is locked to prevent then walking in to use the toilet. Not a singe one buys a coffee, not even a takeaway coffee. They are also sitting on the coffee shops seats outside, leaning on the window. When they finally leave the street is covered in rubbish. They have managed to kill trade for the day or the street market. Whoever was responsible for this charade should be made to pay to clean up the street.

Four Corners has a long bookshelf lined with travel books hence the name. They also supply Four Corners passports, mugs, little notebooks and sweatshirts.

Amazing poster hidden in the toilet.

Finally the drunken idiots depart leaving a trail of rubbish.

I still could not find Love & Scandal. Maybe it is no more.

Note: I check later, Love & Scandal has closed. A pity as lovely coffee shop that at night was a bistro.

Mushroom and chestnut soup in Balance sounded good when I looked in earlier. I double check it is still available and that it is mushroom and chestnut, not chestnut mushrooms. Sounds good. Sadly when served weak and watery and lukewarm almost cold. The toasted bread soggy, as they had already put the butter on the toast.

I ordered a cappuccino. Served too hot. The menu says we do not serve coffee hot, thus absolutely no excuse.

The salad looked enticing except it looked no different to when I looked in much earlier. Not therefore so enticing.

Moronic music playing in the background, fortunately not too loud.

A coffee shop trying to be trendy and failing miserably.

Leaving Lower Marsh, now six o’clock.

Too late to walk over Hungerford Bridge. I decide against back way into Waterloo Station, and go in the side entrance, straight down into the Tube, only then walk for miles.

Exit Covent Garden, change at Leicester Square.

I go on a detour to The Espresso Room, which I find open, open until seven.

I abandon all hope of eating at Home Slice, as there will be a long wait.

They remember me, I get a free coffee, as bought a bag of coffee on my last visit.

A Lithuanian girl makes me V60 using Kemyan coffee. Excellent. Best coffee all day. Very fruity.

We chat long gone closing time.

Available free Clipper. An example of a free magazine of quality. Comparable with Independent Life, a free magazine in Leeds and York.

On my last visit I was given direction to a shop selling Standart, Drift. I could not find. I followed directions, head down Monmouth Street to Seven Dials.

I learn a vital piece of information was missing, in Shorts Gardens.

Leicester Square is nearby, but I decide to try and find the shop, then catch train at Covent Garden.

I catch MagMa before they close. Magazines are in the basement. A grave disappointment compared with Magazine Brighton or Ideas on Paper. No, not latest edition of Standart, not sure of new edition of Drift. As with everyone else, up against the bad distribution of Standart. They have Om Nom. Earlier editions? No, no room for back issues. They too have no idea what the name means. Quality print is not dead. They receive half a dozen new titles every week, or was it day, with requests to stock.

I find Covent Garden Station closed. I head back to Leicester Square, an hour wasted.

People are queuing in the street to get into the station.

I head to Old Street. Find what I am looking for, where Jewelia is holding a launch party for City of My Mind, her debut album.

A queue to get in, bouncers on the door. I walk to the front of the queue, show I am invited, they usher me in. Through a bar, down into an airless basement.

Jewelia welcomes me.

I was not going to stay late, maybe leave at latest by nine, in time to get to Lower Marsh and eat at Maria’s Cafe. But, I have arrived late, Jewelia does not play until late. I decide to stay. I will leave at 10-30 very latest.

She doe not finish playing until gone 10-30.

A brief chat, I feel guilt leaving, but do not know when last train.

A nightmare getting to Waterloo Station, I know there os a train at 2312, which is why I would have have left at 2230. I leave at 2245.

By mistake I get off at Bank, thinking London Bridge. Baffled why London and City Line, not Jubilee Line. I think will it be open. Miles to walk, I am thinking would have been quicker to have changed to train to Waterloo East. No trains shown on display. No trains or display not working. No one about.

I walk back, realising I should have got off at London Bridge.

At Waterloo signs for Way Out, Waterloo East. I follow signs to Way Out finding it literally is the way out. Head to Waterloo East. Exit way along a platform. Why were there no signs to Waterloo Station?

Five minutes to catch a train at 2335 a fast train.

Pick up a roll from Upper Crust. They used to be good, not any more. Stale.

12-coach train, packed.

Neal’s Yard Dairy

November 22, 2018

Neal’s Yard Dairy is a mecca for cheese lovers.

I look in, but no time to do justice.

They ask me to try a cheese, Doddington. It is excellent, I buy a piece.

Cappuccino at Monmouth Coffee

November 22, 2018

I was going to go in search of coffee shops in Soho, but no time, although I had decided against Monmouth Coffee no time, and so Monmouth Coffee it was, even though no time for Monmouth Coffee.

I ordered a cappuccino.

As expected, it was not great.

Girl serving was plesant and helpful.

Not so pleased with someone chatting on their mobile phone even though a sign says No Mobile Phones, and common courtesy would dictate go outside if using phone.

The coffee is on sale in open boxes which is not good.

A pity as Monmouth Coffee were pioneers of specialty coffee in the 1970s but have sadly lost their way.

They are still though very popular. They were busy when I passed by in the afternoon busy in the evening.

 

Pizza at Home Slice

November 22, 2018

Late lunch at Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, excellent pizza.

I time it right, not busy, but starting to fill up.

On leaving Home Slice, I notice a new coffee shop in Neal’s Yard, Jacob the Angel an English Coffee House.

Closing. Not possible to try their coffee.

A cappuccino at Monmouth Coffee, a very quick visit to Neal’s Yard Dairy.

The Espresso Room

November 22, 2018

Cutting through Covent Garden to Soho to find Algerian Coffee Stores I pass by The Espresso Room a tiny little coffee shop in New Row.

Coffee roasted by Caravan, coffee beans on sale. A small selection of cakes.

I decide to stay and I order a cappuccino.

I sit by the bar. I do not notice at first, on the tiles at the back, each tile a recipe for a coffee.

The cappuccino excellent.

A somewhat ignorant young man, no you cannot sit there, my girlfriend has popped out for a couple of minutes. No, she did not return, and other customers ignored his entreaties and sat in the seat. He was having loud conversation on a mobile phone and working on a laptop. Not done in a tiny busy coffee shop, and if wish to have a conversation on a phone, have the courtesy to go outside.

Knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful staff.

I picked up a bag of Caravan coffee. Purchase entitles me to a free coffee. One slight problem, no means to credit me for the coffee I had just bought.

The barista tells me of a shop similar to Magazine Brighton or Ideas on Paper. On leaving, I follow directions, head to Seven Dials, but I do not find.

The Espresso Room is a small chain of four coffee shops. The one I visited in Covent Garden located in New Row.

The Espresso Room in Great Ormond Street is featured in 111 Coffee Shops In London That You Must Not Miss.

Cold misty day in London

November 22, 2018

A cold misty day in London.

Not sure if I will make the train.

Girl on bus told me long wait for the bus, the previous bus driver had refused to let her on with a buggie, even though there was room on the bus.

Ten minutes wait for train, five minute and queue has not moved, only one ticket office open. Barriers closed.

Luckily man operating barriers operated ticket machine for me. I asked he did the same for other passengers else they would miss the train.

Train companies must stop treating passengers as criminals.

Woking, only stop, massive tower blocks going up on both sides of the tracks.

On approach to Waterloo, more tower blocks under construction.

Waterloo Station concourse wide expanse, except being taken up by kiosks.

New food outlet Pure. Free water help yourself, biodegradable cutlery.

This should be the norm, free water as a human right, biodegradable coffee cups and cutlery. And councils must enforces the norm, especially on their own markets.

Kiosk outside Waterloo Station, Four Corners, packing up. Man tells me they have a coffee shop of same name in Lower Marsh. Coffee sourced from Origin.

Where once stood Shell Building, now massive tower blocks under construction.

Beany kiosk at foot of Hungerford Bridge serves excellent coffee, but no time to stop.

Misty walking over Hungerford Bridge.

Another coffee kiosk Embankment Station Blues and Royals.

I cut through Embankment Gardens, cross The Strand at The Savoy.

As I walk up towards Covent Garden I see a coffee shop Grind down a side street. I look in, turn on my heels and walk out, loud music blasting out.

I am cutting through Covent Garden to Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho.

I pass The Espresso Room. I am tempted to stay. Excellent coffee.

I am told of a shop like Magazine Brighton or Ideas on Paper, that sells quality magazines. I am told the name, head up towards Seven Dials, but I do not find.

I pass the road leading to Bar Italia. Excellent coffee shop, but no time.

I eventually find Algerian Coffee Stores.

Passing by Bar Italia on my way back to Covent Garden, a man called George says speak to his agent. I have no idea who he is.

Then retrace my steps to Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, excellent pizza. I time it right, not busy, but starting to fill up.

I had wished to walk back to Soho as number of coffee shops, but no time.

Jacob the Angel an English Coffee House, a new coffee shop in Neal’s Yard. They are serving Square Mile, which is a good sign, as unlike Clifton or Union who do not care about their reputation and will supply anyone, Square Mile are very picky. But it is closing. Not a good sign the two girls working there did not know the name of their espresso machine.

I decide on Monmouth Coffee. It is never very good, and today was no exception, though very helpful girl serving. A pity as they were pioneers of specialty coffee in the 1970s but have sadly lost their way.

I pop in Neal’s Yard Dairy. A mecca for cheese lovers. They ask me to try a cheese, Doddington. It is excellent, I buy a piece.

It is then to Covent Garden Tube Station. Considering the number of people who pass through Covent Garden, it is insanity the ticket office is closed.

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery. A trek to south east London.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford. Alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no. I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

Then back to Waterloo East. Wait for a train? I decide to find Maria’s Cafe in Lower Marsh.

Maria’s Cafe is packed and very noisy. Problem is a gang of drunken yobs on a table. I stay and have stir fried cashew nuts and pork served with rice.

As I leave a couple also leave, they comment they too could not stand the noise. It is not usually like this.

I return to Waterloo Station in time to catch a train at 2212, a slow stopping train.

Soup at Wild Food Cafe

April 20, 2016
Wild Food Cafe

Wild Food Cafe

Turkish lentil soup

Turkish lentil soup

The only reason I was here, Home Slice was busy and I had an hour to kill.

On walking in, very noisy, oppressively so.

All the tables were taken. I was invited to take a bar stool, sit at a shelf overlooking the kitchen.

When taking the order, neither I nor the person standing in the kitchen, could hear each other, such was the level of oppressive noise.

Turkish lentil soup, tasty, generous portion size, but like everything else on the menu, expensive and overpriced.

When paying over a fiver for a bowl of soup, expect at least the bread to be free.  But no.

Did I want bread. No.

I then changed my mind, and ordered what I thought was seeded bread. No, what appeared was a minuscule portion of seeds, somehow glued together, not much bigger than a 50p piece.

staff fare

staff fare

One of the staff came and sat with me. I asked what she was eating. She explained, adding, it was not on the menu. Staff apparently get a far better deal. It looked marginally better than what I saw being served from the kitchen.

Pretentious, noisy and overpriced, Wild Food Cafe very poor compared with Food for Thought, which is sadly no more, closed down last year, much loved and much missed, driven out of business by a greedy grasping landlord driving up the rent to unaffordable levels.

I then departed for Home Slice where I knew I would get an excellent pizza.

Wild Food Cafe is located in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.

Pizza at Home Slice

April 20, 2016
Camden Hells Lager

Camden Hells Lager

mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli pizza slice

mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli pizza slice

I arrived around eight. Could I please pop back in an hour, my name noted down.

A freezing cold evening.

I popped in Wild Food Cafe next door. Pretentious and overpriced.

Returning, still a long wait.

Two, maybe three groups of people, escorted to a table before me.

The service is appalling.

Not the fault of the staff. Home Slice is too popular, they cannot cope with the demand. An enviable position many restaurants would love to be.

Were it not for the food being excellent, and I being cold and hungry, nothing since breakfast, I would have walked out.

I am finally shown to a table.

I  order a slice of mushroom pizza. Although tasty, not hot. Obviously been lying around.

Hungry, I order a second slice.

To drink, lager from a local brewery in Camden. This too is excellent.

Home Slice is located in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.

Pizza at Home Slice

November 22, 2015
Home Slice in Neal's Yard

Home Slice in Neal’s Yard

Home Slice in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden very busy.

Full, though a few girls looked as though they were leaving. Are you on the list? What list? We put you on the list, then we call you when a table is free. We will call you in about one and a half hours.

A cappuccino in M&S opposite Covent Garden Tube Station. It was ok. Better than disgusting coffee in Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks.

A call, a table free.

Pizza is cooked in a wood-fired clay oven, choice of 20 inch or a slice (the choice of slice restricted to three options).  To put 20″ in context, that is four inches short of two feet.

A slice of mushroom pizza as on Monday. Hungry a second slice. Delicious.

Half of lager, another half. The lager locally sourced.

Wine is served in what looked like a 2l bottle, tall straight sides. A shock to the table next to me, a lot of wine to drink.

Not quite, they measure the bottle with a ruler, than charge for what you have drunk. At least that appeared to be what was happening.

It would be more relaxing without the loud music.

Walking in, hit by the noise.

Monday late afternoon, it was busy, but I was told it get much busier later, and so it proved to be, and it was Saturday night. I thought before seven o’clock it would not be too busy (I had hoped to arrive earlier) but not so.

Monday it was very hot (mild outside). Saturday night not too hot, but then freezing cold outside.

Monday I was given a card giving me 10% off. But did not have it with me. They accepted I had the card, and was given 10% off.

It was a relief to get back outside, away from the noise.