Tag Archives: Flat White

Some nice places I’ve eaten at lately

I’ve been trying to lose some weight so I’ve restricted my dining out to … oh … three times a week or so. Here’s a little selection of the places that have tingled my taste buds in the last couple of weeks:

1. Mason & Taylor, 51-55 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

A cute little bar near Old Street serving an incredible selection of craft beers and real ales - best beer I’ve had in London and so nice to see some great blonde and amber Belgian beers like Chimay and Westmalle served ice cold on tap.

Accompanying your beer are some well-thought out locally-sourced organic English tapas plates. Sadly these weren’t as amazing as I wanted them to be. Unlike Terroirs (French), Polpo/etto (Italian), Dishoom (Indian) or most Spanish tapas, you just didn’t get that zing or oomph in every small plate. This isn’t necessarily their fault – the menu is certainly really interesting – but the food was a little under-seasoned and The Chef pointed out that trying to do English tapas is hard because you don’t get those powerful flavours and spices that you get with other cuisines. Everything was nice – ox tongue, Scotch quails eggs, wild boar sausage with beetroot mash, arbroath smokie, beef sirloin – but just a little dull. To oomph it up you’d need much more seasoning, some spicy mustard or horseradish perhaps, full “wow” flavours, something a bit deeper. But it was my first experience of jerusalem artichoke (which was lovely with a nice aioli) – delicious and indeed fartichoky. I would certainly not have been welcome in Malawi last Wednesday evening.

I would definitely go back to try the delicious beers again and am reliably informed by a friend that after several beers, the Scotch quails egg tastes like manna from heaven so they may just have got it right after all.

The Chef and I were guests of Mason & Taylor and thank them very much for their kind hospitality & lovely service.

Mason & Taylor on Urbanspoon

2. The Telegraph, Putney Heath, SW15 3TU

This place prides itself as being a country pub in London and it is indeed – huge and high-ceilinged with wooden tables and chairs and a fire in winter and lots of greenery outside. I also thought you might like to admire my new bike panier in the foreground of the shot (newly christened bike geek!). Anyway, like all good Sunday lunch pubs, it serves a good spicy Bloody Mary, decent Chilean Merlot, and a nice roast dinner. It’s also a nice cycle ride from here to Richmond Park if you wanted to work all that food off.

It’s a good place to come if you’ve got kids or want to watch the rugby – but the room upstairs contained about 200 small children – including 20 or so newborns (scary-looking NCT Sunday lunch?) – so if you’re feeling a little delicate from the night before you’d probably be better off sitting downstairs.

A bloody mary, pint of cider, starter, roast dinner and far too much red wine came to £35 each.

Telegraph on Urbanspoon

3. Lantana, 13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN

I’d tried a Lantana coffee a while back for my coffee shop project, but had never eaten there, and was tempted to go back to meet Maximillian for lunch and to eat their corn fritters with bacon, rocket and creme fraiche. I am a massive fan of corn fritters having had a fetish for them ever since my mother used to cook them with our Sunday fry up. My mother’s corn fritters remain the best I have EVER tasted, second place being at Bill Grainger’s restaurant in Sydney. We need MORE corn fritters on brunch menus please, as well as more huevos rancheros.

Anyway Lantana is a nice place only I wish they’d just knock down the wall between “in” and “out” to make it a bit more open and less narrow. And that they close the door as it was freezing throughout lunch (I realise I’m verging into whingeing territory here which is very un-HPL but Max and I have this covered – we are setting up an anti-HPL blog for the express purpose of whingeing & moaning, so this blog can remain as enthusiastic and positive as normal). Anyway, the corn fritters were yummy – lovely salsa and creme fraiche and nice crunchy bacon, only I’d have loved to taste the creamy salty corn a bit more – el madre could maybe give them a few tips. Lovely flat whites to finish too.

My corn fritter, apple and elderflower juice and flat white with 12.5% tip added to the bill (not really necessary for lunch?) came to just under £20.

Lantana on Urbanspoon

My search for the best coffee shop in central London #7 – Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0PT

More coffee in central London following my hitlist of places to try, more mid-week gossip with Penelope, hurrah.

And ever since I started getting into coffee, and testing out coffee shops, Flat White has been mentioned again and again as the caffeine holy grail. It was the Byron to my burger, an Antipodean caffeine dream, the crown jewels of Soho coffee establishments. So I had high hopes. But then bloody @theheliocentric on twitter responded to my excitement about going with these words: “it’ll be far too milky…” and my excitement was dented. Oh no, another overhyped place, a Byron disappointment?

Not quite. Flat White is just opposite Yautacha, next door to the Cafe du Marche, and a really cool venue. They were playing brilliant blues when I was there and in walked the most fabulous collection of cool trendy people - and a large number of interesting beards too. Lots of people on their own which is a great sign. Very friendly Ozzie/Kiwi (sorry I still can’t tell the difference sometimes) staff.

And then my flat white (£2.50) – which had a lovely kick (Brazilian, Sumatran and El Salvador beans) and great coffee art (it’s important m’kay) but arghhhhhhhhhhhhh it was too bloody milky! God I’m beginning to sound like a real whinger but I just know how I like my coffee now which is why it is such a great thing to get into and work out what you like. However, as the people from Kaffeine pointed out to me, it’s really about the customer telling them how they like it done – so next time I’d ask for a double shot and slightly less milky. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I get lots of comments that a flat white is supposed to be milky (apparently coffee is also supposed to be lukewarm, that’s me told) but it’s just a very personal thing.

Do pop in – it’s a great venue (probably coolest coffee shop so far and it smells amaaazing inside) and I’ll definitely be back again, they’re really nice, you can check out the beards and the carrot cake looked fab too.

Flat White on Urbanspoon

My search for the best coffee shop in central London #6 – Kaffeine, 66 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7QJ

So I continue my search for the best coffee shop in central London using my Criteria and hit-list. And I finally made it to Kaffeine, the oft-praised antipodean coffee shop raved about by various twitterites including Tim Hayward. So me and the gorgeous Penelope, identical twin to Argentine Aileen, went there for lunch a couple of weeks ago and I thanked my lucky stars yet again for having lovely friends working close by for weekday gossip-filled lunches, the highlight of my working week.

Anyway, the food looked great so I bought a slice of quiche with salad, which was extremely yummers although at £6 on the pricey side. It was a chilled out relaxed place BUT the tables at the back were at the wrong height – you either have to bend down to reach your food/coffee or sit with it on your knee, not very practical. God that was dull, sorry.

Anyway, on to the coffee. I ordered a flat white which was £2.20 ish. They have a super duper “Synesso Cyncra espresso machine” which they are very proud of – when I was taking photos of the coffee shop they asked me if I wanted to photograph the coffee machine. I said no but only because Penelope had run outside in embarrassment and I did look like a complete dick yet again taking photos and it’s hard to pull off “excited tourist” in a suit. Anyway the coffee is Square Mile and apparently the beans are from El Salvador and Costa Rica. It was nice and creamy, tick. Good use of coffee art, tick. Tasty tangy taste, tick. And with a nice little kick, tick. BUT it was only lukewarm and since I’ve been getting into my coffee, this is my new pet hate. Coffee should arrive HOT so then you can sit around, holding it in your hands and looking pensive / sexy, and then sipping slowly, taking your time and thinking or reading or gossiping. If it arrives lukewarm you need to pretty much down it before it gets even colder which ruins the whole seduction. It may be that the fancy pants coffee machine means the coffee cools too much (and I know there is a bit of a wait for coffee), or because it was a Friday lunchtime and busy so may have sat on the counter, but anyway it needed to be hotter for my liking. And the low table at the back thing (dull).

So, for that reason, my favourite central London coffee shops remain Store Street Espresso and Wild & Wood. But Flat White is yet to come. Oh yes.

Kaffeine on Urbanspoon