Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meals on wheels Part VII - London: Cafés

Saturday afternoon in Berlin. My cell phone rings. A friend asks me what I am doing. I say: "I'm on vacation in Berlin!". Silence. No, I haven't completely lost it. But even after years in Berlin, I can still feel like a tourist in this town, exploring parts of the city that I hardly ever go to. This time, I went to Charlottenburg which to me seems further away than, say, Gothenburg. Isn't that great that a whole new world to explore is just a 30 minute subway ride away? I didn't have a camera with me and this post should after all be about exploring another place - London - but I just have to share three of my finds with you:
First, the perfumery Harry Lehmann. Their homepage looks as dated as the store which is a perfumery cum florist. It is a one of a kind store. When you enter it, you think: "Man, I am sure this place hasn`t changed since the 1950s" and also "Man, I am sure the people who came here in the 1950s thought 'man this place hasn't changed since the 1920s'".  It is very cute and although most of their perfumes are to heavy for my taste, a small bottle of one of their lighter ones followed me home.
Second, I stopped by Wald Königsberger Marzipan. Again, a store that makes you believe that travelling in time IS possible. The prices there are really steep, but their Marzipan is sooo good. And I am a true expert on Marzipan. I am so glad I finally made it to this store, it had been on my places-I-want-to-visit-list for too long.
Third, Café Kredenz. Now, that was the only place I had been to before. It feels like a traditional coffee house and they cut perfectly sized slices which, by Berlin standards might be considered small, but I prefer small, but excently cake over large, but mediocre slices of cake. Their praliné cake is my favorite, but most of them look like I would like them.

But now to that other place I was exploring some time ago: London. In London, the difference between rage and courage sometimes only is a matter of perspective.

Something I really found difficult in London was finding small, quiet, authentic cafés where I could rest my weary feet. Here are a few of the ones I liked.
The first one almost made it into last week's post because it is actually situated within a museum. The Geffrye -Museum of the Home is an excellent museum on the history of living and worth a visit for every foodie as it is interesting to learn about the different settings in which people came together to share a meal during the last two centuries.

The conservatory in the back is where the café is located. A really nice place with a great view over the herb garden on the backside of the museum.

I think most people in the museum thought that I had lost it completely, because I took a million photos of the creative shadows which the sun projected onto the curtains. But didn't it just look beautiful?

The next café is not really quiet, but I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle, maybe because a quiet, relaxing walk was waiting for me afterwards. It's the Breakfast club in Islington. English breakfast should once and for all shut down the discussion about the British cuisine. I mean, hellooo, a country in which it is considered totally normal to eat 2 poached eggs, thick slices of ham, biscuits and all that topped with tons of sauce hollandaise cannot be considered a place of bad taste. Sure, I couldn't eat that at 6 o'clock in the morning, but at 10 o'clock? Bring it on, baby! And I am sure the skinny-on-the-verge-to-anorectic model in the foto shooting taking place outside the café would have also loved to dig into my plate of grease!

After this kind of breakfast, I was definitely ready to walk it off with a stroll along the Islington canal. What a lovely place! The sun was shining, the water at times so still that the surrounding was reflected in the most beautiful way on the surface and the old houseboats moaning and growning.

The last place was right around the corner from where I stayed and it turned out to be the perfect breakast place for me. A lovely cup of tea and a slice of lemon loaf cake - me like. The place is called Yumchaa and I especially liked the design of the place, although I admit that I was somewhat disappointed when I found out that this café, too, is a chain (although just a small one). I prefer cafés where the boss is also the owner is also the person who bakes is also the person choosing which tea to sell. I'd rather have a special place that makes me take the subway to the other side of town than a place opening branches here and there. I don't want everything to be available all the time. I want it to feel special to take the time to go to a certain café or restaurant. But from the mass of cafés that lack authenticity this one definitely stands out, the designers behind it were almost good enough to fool me into believing that the furniture had been carried in by a bunch of students only the other day.

Alrighty, those were my tips from my first visit in London! I can't wait to be back but this time in a rented apartment with kitchen and also during the summer, when I would then buy a huge picnic at borough market and devour everything somewhere in Hyde Park!


  1. Schade, dass ich die London-Tipps erst nach meiner Rückkehr gelesen habe. Aber es gibt ja ein nächstes Mal ...
    Die 'Schattenbilder' sind wunderschön.

  2. Ja, man braucht ja auch immer einen Grund, unbedingt an einen Ort zurückzukehren...vielleicht sind die Schatten auf den Rollos im Geffrye Museum Grund genug!