Saturday, 4 April 2009

London Review Cake Shop

Bread and Butter Pudding with Strawberry Coulis
Exceptional deliciousness home-made by the wonderful Terry

Insanely moist lemon cake.
Insanely delectable.

Thé Rouge Bourbon, vanilla red tea

One of the most methodical ways of serving tea in the capital.
Smitten and thus terribly spoilt.


LRCS is a marvel

It pains me greatly to reveal things that I would loathe to share. Even if it’s the last Rollo that we’re deliberating over, it’s mine alone and I’m no charity. Yes, selfish git I may be but at least the final pleasure was at my behest. But then again certain things no matter how avaricious they can hasten one to be are unfortunately made or created for sharing, like Côte de Boeuf, a bowl of punch or even a tray of freshly baked brownies. These wonderful things are too wasteful and pointless to be consumed on a solo basis, they need to be shared.
The London Review Cake Shop is a place I came across roughly a couple of days ago. On my first visit I fell in love with it, so much so that I wanted to keep it a secret. Although I work and reside in W1/W2 respectively, most of my eating activities end up east of either.
The location of LRCS in Bloomsbury and a stone’s throw away from Mummies’ House (British Museum to the learned) is convenient for everyone concerned; it’s simply reachable by any modes of travel without much constraints save the congestion charge. The postcard view of Bury Street from the café reminded me of my college days in Oxford, but only until the Centre Point Tower comes into eyeshot on a clear and sunny day. The alternative view at the back of Pied Bull Yard is also pleasing to the eye, it’s unfortunate that LRCS doesn’t have access to al fresco seating (especially with Summer around the corner) in this pretty courtyard.
LRCS is part of a bookshop, the London Review Bookshop and access to the former is only possible via the bookshop proper. This is not a review of LRB, but allow me to sneak a brief mention; like Daunt of Marylebone, they’re both London’s leading independent bookstores and in the age of cheap discounted titles available online from Amazon, LRB needs to be championed by all book lovers.

The first time I turned up was around 2pm and it was pretty much full. My companion and I settled on the communal table facing the said courtyard. The ambience is most definitely airy and bright, with no dark corners or nooks to be seen.
The profusion of aromas stemming from the tea, cakes, coffee and possibly books was remarkable. This places oozes sensibility and downright calm.
I think it’s down to the display of books that demands a level of respect and discernment from the customers; by that I don’t mean library silence but common sense perceptiveness. Thankfully there’s no old fashioned stuffiness to report either, just book lovers who enjoy a decent bite and cuppa in an ideal surrounding.
I went straight for the cappuccino. Like a few good café places, the beans are sourced from Monmouth Coffee Company. No complaints and a satisfactory B+.
Companion went for a snack of carrot cake. He thought it excellent; perfectly moist and thumbs up. I got so distracted with a book (Robert Irwin’s The Alhambra) that I forgot to ask him about his tea. I think it was jasmine and I also believed he had up to three cups of it*.
I came back here today for a very late lunch and the place was less packed. With this second visit I decided not to grab a book (ever so deflecting), as I needed to take some pics instead. It was quite strange to witness a solo diner like me without a book in this café. I suppose wielding a camera (very discreetly I may add) is probably more acceptable than reading The Sunday Sport (yes they’re open on Sundays as well) in here.
The menu for such a relatively compact place was comprehensive to say the least. Bespoke teas, soups, quiches and Patisserie faves are all present.

The delightful young lady recommended that I have the Salt Beef sandwich. This remarkable dish also contained purple basil jam (why I never!), spinach leaves, artichokes, tomatoes and some artisanal brown bread- all drizzled with olive oil.
I mean how spoilt and pampered can one be with a sarnie like this. Although terribly posh sounding, it was bloody good value at £4.80. A sandwich of revelatory proportions.Tea. LRCS are dead serious about their tea, both the provenance and the way it’s served are taken seriously. *All the teas are served with two pots, the second being the vital hot water needed to determine the strength of the brew needed to suit individual tastes or just simply as an all inclusive top up by default. I went for the so ethically correct sounding Thé Au Tibet.
This tea proved immensely refreshing, I’ve yet to taste a tea so smooth and beautifully fragrant. I found this drink profound (gawd I hate that word, but I detest 'awesome' more!) I urge you to seek this tea out when you’re here next.
All hot beverages are served with a raspberry and chocolate bikkie. Lovely touch, I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.
Passion Meringue Cake- as long as the word egg white is not mentioned I’m au fait with meringue. Great cake, the meringue was light and sweet enough to blend well with the sharp and delicious passion fruit filling.
The pastry was exceptional as well. Five stars.

This session can be construed as High Tea without Ritz prices. I rest my case.

Well, there you have it. I want to come back to this place without the need of hanging around for a table. That’s one of the primary reasons why I wanted to keep it quiet. It’s got everything that a thinking person demands of a café. I also found this place holistic. Terry Glover who runs this place has done a brilliant job and the girls who support her are friendly, helpful and smiling. I’m thus a happy biscuit. LRCS was discovered via the incomparable Scrambling Eggs blog.

Recommendation of the highest degree
bestowed. (I could’ve said it otherwise, so think of me the next time you’re here…)

NB Oy Lap Toppers, no WI-FI here! Hoooooooooooooray! Damn!

14 Bury Place
London WC1A 2JL


Eva said...

Nooooooo! You keep revealing my favourite spots!

I'm interested that they've changed to choc-raspberry biscuits; before, it was plain butter biscuits (equally tasty, I've no doubt). Yum!

Although there's no wifi here, I do like to bring my laptop sometimes as it provides a tranquil place to work, and the lovely ladies behind the counter don't seem keen to disturb.

bellaphon said...

Eva- Gimme your list of secret return you can have my choc-raspberry bikkie every time.

thora said...

What a wonderful shop, I'd probably spend a lot of time here, and money too I guess.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Hurray! And so close to my office. If it had Wifi, I'd be able to work here too. Thank you for the review!

Su-Lin said...

Oh wow! Like, this place looks AWESOME!


No, but seriously, you should hear in it my accent.

bellaphon said...

Thora- At least books can be re-read, good investment overall.

HYLP- You're welcome. I'm glad my work isn't as portable as yours, in any case I'm still very much last century; I use a pen and notebook.

S-L- Please, none of that Mid-Atlantic twang.

Su-Lin said...

Mid-Atlantic? You kidding? I do a very good Valley Girl.

Krista said...

I love their cheesecake. Honestly, I loved it so much, I had to ask them where they got it. When I wrote about it on my blog, someone responded and told me where to find the guy. I think he's on the King's Road at that market by Partridge's.

bellaphon said...

For a mere second, I faltered at the thought of a squeaky rendition from Valley of the Dolls!

Now that you’ve mentioned it, they’ll probably sell out the cheesecake in no time. Thanks for the tip!

I heart cupcakes said...

I love LRB - its such a cosy little place and the couple of times I've been I've been very grateful to have gotten a seat (went past it many times before I managed!). Your pics have made me plan another trip there asap!

bellaphon said...

@IHC- alas the seating constraints, best time to turn up would be between 10am-12pm or 2-4pm, I've let the cat out of the bag again!

Anonymous said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing....

Ravi Chauhan said...

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