Posts Tagged ‘cafe’
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
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.
Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 1
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.
Piazza San Carlo, 191
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!
Piazza San Carlo, 204
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
- 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*
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…
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. 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?
A look at the menu and that’s it. You forgot the idea of just a quick coffee and a treat, you settle for brunch instead. Eggs royal with a perfect lemony Hollandaise sauce on fragrant salmon and toasted sourdough bread. And a salad – have a look at the counter, they are beautiful. The couscous one is very rich: mint, coriander, pinenuts, spring onions, parsley, tender chicken and juicy jewel pomegranate. Or try the delicious, unctuous Spanish red pepper dip. Wow. A brilliant alliance of feta, almonds, garlic, smoked paprika, olive oil. Divine and healthy, what a perfect combination!
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
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.
41 Arthur St
Belfast BT1 4GB
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…
6, rue du Forez
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!
99-101 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3XB
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
The story starts by a passion, of course. Her name is Lisa Comfort – the most adorable brunette you have ever met with a vintage look and the most enchanting smile. How many hours has she spent discovering the universe of sewing, dreaming then making unique models, sharing her knowledge, transporting her machine all around London? The came the idea of a café, Sew over it, thought as a second home. A place where you could fight the world one stitch at a time, learn a few more techniques and even indulge in a cup of tea and slice of cake. And for people like me, who barely master changer a button and would not even dare stepping in, clumsy as we are, but yet would love to add a splash of colour to a dress, there is a book too.
The first pages explain the very basics - the difference between stitches, sew a button, make an impeccable finition. Simple, clear explanation, lots of pictures to guide you. Right, yes, you can manage that, you are indeed feeling confident enough to take another step. until now, you never really knew which one. Well, you can indeed cover a button with fabric. Try – oh, success and you are most amazed. So what next? You leaf through, following the artist’s inspiration: pearls are a little like buttons, when you think of it so you could line them, make a pattern. A ribbon can be folded geometrically of in a beautiful flower. A simple collar suddenly becomes a work of art and a very unique one too. Now you are dreaming of a sewing machine, of making a gorgeous skirt.
One of these books that make you go forward, wonderful to discover on a winter day with a steaming mug of tea, enchanting with its simple words and taking you along to a world where everything feels possible.
Ah, Paris. Two magic syllables. Sit at the terrace of a café, order a grand crème, a croissant, a stereotype maybe, but life is made cheerful by enjoying such simple pleasures. Follow me – here are some detours in the city to inspire you…
* At Gals rock (17 rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris), step into the back room and sit for a while in the sofa. You will fall in love with the music being played, again and again. There is a flask of tea, the deco is vintage inspired and you will find many treasure here.
* Look for deco ideas in the famous concept store Merci (111, boulevard Beaumarchais – 75003 Paris) – so much more there than just a shopping expedition, such as how to turn any crack in the floor or wall into a clooming poem.
* While you are at Merci, have breakfast at the Used Books Café, leafing through romance or devouring whole chapters of adventure stories. Do come early to avoid having to wait - they open at 10.00 and are closed on Sundays.
* How could you resist Judith Lacroix (3 rue Henry Monnier 75009 Paris) kids collection? Clever work on geometry and assymetry in pop colours.
* Nearby, the gorgeous Rocket Ship (13 bis rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris) will make you nostalgic of the 70ies. You will want to buy everything. Or you could just sit at their counter and order one of their fab chai lattes.
* There is more to Paris museums than the Louvre – the city has many adorable cultural centers and a lot less expensive too. You may not know Gustave Moreau but do go and visit his house/workshop (14, rue de La Rochefoucauld 75009 Paris). Some of the rooms are still as he used to know them, filled with his ecclectic and fascinating collections. Others are filled with his paintings from floor to ceiling – so much to take in you will sit down and admire endlessly. Oh, and don’t miss the fabulous spiral staircase, worth coming for on its own. Entrance fee is only 5€.
* As always, keep an eye out for street art. We loved the stencils by The Dude Company.
* Buy tea and coffee from Daval (12 rue Daval, 75011 Paris), the tiniest shop you could imagine in an artist’s courtyard right at Bastille. Very old France. Shelves threaten to curve under the weight of huge tea tin boxes with charming names (chimney fire, Valentine’s day, angel, everglad…), the coffee bags perfume the air, you cna glimpse cooking recipes cut out from magazines, local stop by, have a chat and leave their second hand books to be sold for a couple euros. A very simple place, one that makes you feel all warm inside.
* Take your fiancé to Alain, one of the very rare barbers in Paris – the French experience will leave his skin so soft he will be the one wanting to go back.
* No space left in your suitcase for souvenirs? Indulge in the sweetest gift to yourself at chez Bogato, a boutique-pastryshop all in candy like colours.
* The French love a cartoon called Shadoks, based on the absurdities of life. The creator Jacques Rouxel, used to live a few minutes walk from Bastille. The courtyard (71 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75011 Paris) is now dedicted to him. So very cute in summer with lots of flowers around, a pleasant detour – one you will not find in your guidebook.
* Fancy a real espresso? Try a syphon one at Café Coutume (47 Rue de Babylone 75007 Paris). Splendid to observe, really. The staff speaks English and can advise the perfect roast depending on whether you like it spiced, strong, fruity, cocoa tinted… Their brunch is lovely too with yummy potatoes and sweet chilli sauce. And they serve amazing treats from the Pâtisserie des Rêves.
* And if you are a movie fan and speak a little French, in the same street to this amzing cinema in a Chinese Pagode (57, rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris). It does need renovation but it is worth having a look!