Posts Tagged ‘cafe’

Hoxton Square – The Feel Good Café – FREE!

The Feel Good Café has just opened on Hoxton Square. It’s free and only open until May 23 so do go and try. Why? Because it’s surprising. This pop-up is in fact an initiative by Weight Watchers. The brand asked a chef to create menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) showcasing their products. Simply because people like me expect any diet related product to taste like cardboard and are reluctant to compromise on quality. But this… was good, really good.

The point is not to serve only their product on a plate but to incorporate it in a modern, daily-life menu that you can easily recreate at home. And trust me, if you do not mention the name, I doubt your friends would guess you have served them a WW product. The chef and his team have really enjoyed the experience, praising the quality, even for sausages!

I liked the crème fraiche used in the salad dressing with lemon and olive oil. The coleslaw, much better than any supermarket brand I had used, fluid and sweet but still with a tangy kick. The pizza was brilliant too - the flatbead, sauce and cheese were all WW. Amazing. I am doing this tonight at home. Even the coconut Greek yoghurt was fantastic, very tasty, super creamy… but guilt free.

Go and try. You will get two courses for free and a drink. Try their wine too, the grapes are picked earlier in the season to limit the sugar and alcohol percentage. It’s more a light picnic wine than a grand cru but perfect for summer days. Much more pleasant than you expect.

In a hurry? The team has a take-away menu too!

The Feel Good Café by Weight Watchers until May 23, 2014
16 Hoxton Square
London N1 6NT

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Brunch in Paris – Tuck Shop

I had noticed this adorable café just after discovering Holybelly, close to the Canal Saint-Martin, promising myself to come back for a proper brekky. A very cheerful atmosphere created by three Australian girls, quite a waltz around the communal tables at the weekend, it’s so busy (but on a nice day, ask for take-away food and sit by the canal). Vintage books, magazines, 70s cups on the shelves, terrarium in giant white shells. Try the 12€ brunch (is there a better deal in Paris?): croque-madame muffin (brie, avocado, egg yolk, bechamel), freshly pressed mint-pineapple juice, cookie (shortbread quality, milk and white chocolate chunks, walnuts) and a hot drink. Coffee beans are from Coutume, chai lattes have lovely vanilla scent but hey, there’s a LSD on the board too. Nothing illegal but almost as mind-bending – Latte Soy Dandelion. You probably can’t do more original. Light, honeyish rather than floral, silky, none of the bitterness than often goes with that bloom. Makes the breakfast feel extra special. Really good value too. If you have a big appetite, try something from the normal menu. We indulged in the fruity comté, pear compote, sesame purée, green leaves, seedy artisan bread sandwich. Superb. It’s only later that I realised this is in fact a vegetarian café. I had completely forgotten the need for bacon: all the more credits for it!

Tuck Shop
13, rue Lucien Sampaix
75010 Paris
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Paris – Holybelly café

How not to melt for Holybelly, another fab address in the Canal Saint-Martin area? We loved their sense of humour (the slate outside the door always has a friendly or funny sentence, check out their instagram), all the little details inspired by trendy Melbourne: Monster Bash pinball, white letters on the blackboard, brick walls, mugs in a cheerful neon colour… As at 10 Belles, the coffee comes from the local Belleville brûlerie. Intense espressos, velvety filter coffee but also real hot chocolates and perfect chais. This is the best place around for a brunch – especially when you read the line “Pancake, fried egg, pancake again, fried egg again, crispy bacon and Bourbon butter”. Yes, all this is a single dish. Fried eggs can be served with thyme mushrooms, ewe’s milk cheese, black pudding, hash browns… And you can’t miss the mouthwatering cakes as you walk past the counter!

Holybelly
19 rue Lucien Sampaix
75010 Paris

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Turin – little cafés and delicious places we loved…

Turin will tempt you at every corner. Superb historical cafés serving docetinis, these bite size pastries meant to match a coffee while still enabling conversation. Gelatos every few hundred metres. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Easy to differentiate locals from tourists though: Italians quickly drink their espresso at the counter, others linger happily on the terrace…

A few addresses we absolutely loved:

Caffé Baratti & Milano

For its view on the exceptional Subalpina galeria, its carved wooden ceiling and friezes, the bow tie behind the counter. So chic!

Baratti & Milano
Piazza Castello, 29
10123 Turin

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Guido Gobino

Voted the best chocolatier in Turin. If gianduja is the favourite  in Turin, here you can also find amazing, high quality twists such as salted cacao treats, olive oil ones, campari, vermouth, barolo chinato infused sweets… To die for. They also do ice-cream to go. Try the pistachio with a dark chocolate sorbetto topping.

Guido Bobino
Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 1
10123 Turin

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Stratta

THE sweets boutique in town. Not so much chocololate than candy –  sugar pastille, crystallised flowers and mint leaves, sugared almonds, some with a cherry filling… A must see –  their shop windows are always a hit – and a great place to buy a gift for friends or family. This is were locals come for elegant favours for weddings and christenings.

Stratta
Piazza San Carlo, 191
10123 Turin

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Caffé Torino

Another historical café, a little old fashioned to my taste but it does have this 1930ies charm and  fantastic curved stairs worth seeing. In front of the place, on the floor, is the symbol of the city, a bull. Walk on it for luck!

Caffé Torino
Piazza San Carlo, 204
10123 Turin

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Caffé San Carlo

You will stare in wonder at the huge glass chandelier. Amazing ceilings too. And the perfect bicerin (a local specialty –  chocolate, coffee, thick cream): dense, rich, worth licking your lips for.

Caffé San Carlo
Piazza San Carlo 156
10123 Turin

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- Il gelato Amicomakes super flavours, light in texture but wow, so rich. Fell in love with the intense mint-anise, the tangy lemon, the juicy pear.

-  Pepino might not look like much from the outside but they invented ice-cream on a stick. Extremely thin decadent dark chocolate shell and creamy filling. The violet is, surprisingly, a perfect match.

- At Piu un di gelato, you can ask for a brioche filled with the ice-cream of your choice. Plus thick sweet cream. I tried it with fig +  coffee stracciatella. *Happy sigh*
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Postcards from Turin

Ah, to enjoy the dolce vita in Turin! The gorgeous endless curved arches, its adorable historical cafés where you can sip on a real bicerin (an elegant mix of coffee, chocolate and cream), its covered galleries suspended in time, its famous chocolatiers putting a spell on you with the local gianduja (melt-in-the-mouth cacao and hazelnuts from the Piedmont region), its superb roofs and in the background, the Alps…

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Chelsea Quarter café

It’s 11.00 on a Saturday. Chelsea is in full buzz. You are walking along and suddenly you see it in the window. The mountain of festive meringues. The collection of cute éclairs. The so inviting lines of croissants. You won’t even realise you have stepped in the café already, hypnotised, mouth watering.chelsea quarter cafe, chelsea, cafe, brunch, breakfast, cake, pastry, london chelsea quarter cafe, chelsea, cafe, brunch, breakfast, cake, pastry, london chelsea quarter cafe, chelsea, cafe, brunch, breakfast, cake, pastry, london The secret is to go down to the basement room, recently redecorated to a cozy lounge with vibrant colours. Now choose your atmosphere – the tender spring green chairs on the garden side? Or the tall armschairs you just want to settle in for the rest of the day towards the chimney? The room is perfect for parties too – ideal with friends, perfect for children to run around. How, don’t you feel like filling it with balloons?
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The menu also offers a fabulous selection of freshly pressed juices. The classic ones, of course but also mint-apple, banana and acai, carrot/beetroot/celery/ginger or this one mango, papaya and apple, silky, so very re-energising. Enjoy, stay a little longer. Have another one. Read a magazine. Remember the pastries, plan a sweet break along the Thames later on. Or maybe just come back tomorrow morning for your first coffee with the perfect croissant…

Chelsea Quarter Café
29 Kings’ Road
Chelsea
London

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Shopping in Belfast – Avoca

Avoca is, how could I say… a kind of Aladin’s cave. You take a few steps and you never want to leave again. Such a beautiful mix of Cath Kidston home sweet home feeling, vintage style, a good dose of cheerfulness and colours, colours everywhere. It’s poetic and magical and cosy, all at the same time. And you will want to wrap yourself straight away in one of their rainbow Irish wool throws… And possibly just buy all your friend’s birthday presents and Xmas gifts all at once. Yes -  it kind of has that effect on you.

Bonus, the café on the first floor, still upcycling-focused, family-friendly and where you can indulge in the best scones in the world (trust me, I have conducted quite an extensive benchtasting). Tomato-cheese, seeds… Mixed berries… Vanilla and pear…

No matter how short your stay is in Belfast -  your steps will automatically take you back there.

Avoca
41 Arthur St
Belfast BT1 4GB

Café Pinson, Paris

An adorable café, one of these places Paris has a secret skill for. Small but über-trendy. Walls showing beautiful stones, ecclectic decoration -  a little between a smart appartment and a glimpse of the past. Through a window, you can see the constant rush in the kitchen, happy consequence of their never-ending success. On a sofa at the back, you can put headphones on and listen to the musical discoveries of the excellent Radio Faubourg Simone.

Why are you here? To forget sterotypes about vegetarian food. It can be beautifully presented, extremely tasty, fruity, nutty, fun, surprising. The menu is at a mere 12€ with a choice of 2 starters, a main dish (only one option for now, more to come), and one of the many desserts. You will be amazed by superfood ingredients that will give you your energy back without the feeling of being anchored to the ground after indulging in a gorgeous meal. Most dishes also are gluten-free and this is extremely rare in Paris. You will fall for the almond milk cappucinos and the extraordinary cakes with a twist, like this creamy cashew nut one with just a hint of spice on top…

Café Pinson
6, rue du Forez
75003 Paris

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The Garrison

Strolling along the Thames, around London Bridge? Fancy a break away from the tourists with a vintage feeling to it? Make an escape towards Bermondsey Street. The first part of the street does not have much interest for a while then it suddenly turns into a lovely selection of independant boutiques (even a glass blowing one), foodie shops, a florist with a sense of humour, the Fashion and Textile Museum and the White Cube Gallery. There also is The Garrison, between adorable café and pub with its retro atmosphere, its mismatched chairs, its 50ies style lampshades, a light made of a bunch of teacups, a hundred details that make it quite a fascinating scene. Go there for a coffee, a glass of wine, breakfast, a gorgeous meal chosen from their refined menu or… even a movie in their private projection roon on Sunday nights!

The Garrison
99-101 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3XB

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Ozone coffee roasters

A stroll through Shoreditch, a lucky street art hunt: here is the perfect conclusions for caffeine-addicts. We know Starbuck won’t do, we need the real stuff. And ha, how welcoming that roasted fragrance is when you step in -  the beans are grilled on site. Look around. This industrial building is now a trendy coffee shop with a homey feeling, a chic diner space and a lovely wooden counter along the window. Ah, the first sip of perfect velvety, fruity espresso, the one that sharpens your senses… The flat white is perfectly dosed too with a creamy froth. And you’ll be back -  with a novel or a laptop. This is your new HQ.

Ozone Coffee Roasters
11 Leonard Street
London 
EC2A 4AQ

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