Old buildings, browsing free entry museums and loosing myself in the beautiful by-lanes of London City are things I love to do. Considering that I am either doing 2-3 part time jobs at once or a very tight schedule full time project at other times, time is always at a premium so on free days I love setting out armed with my backpack with a few home made sandwiches, a bottle of water, low cal (joke!) crisps and if I am lucky then a small piece of cake. I do try and carry a thermos with hot water for making my own tea but that only in the summer when I want to walk up Box-Hill , read a book , catch a snooze and watch the clouds make funny patterns in the sky.
Now that I am blogging from home (full-time) , I have to think hard and save lots before I allow myself even the occasional treat at a quaint cafe.
On one beautiful summer afternoon last year ,when my dear ma-in-law was visiting us ,(ma – who is also a good listener and knows how to soothe frayed nerves and lighten me up when I am hyper -which is almost always), decided to go see the British Museum. With my absolute lack at being able to use the many apps I have on my smartphone (apparently even the owner has to be a tad smart- sigh..) I managed to totally confuse her and we ended walking almost for 40 minutes before we finally reached the museum. Ready to fall dead myself and with a huge guilt conscience at the torchure I had just inflicted on my poor sweet ma (who is well into her 60’s) ,I decided to treat her to some tea and cakes. Funnily enough the only other time I had been to the London Review Bookshop nestled in a lane bang opp the British Museum was when she last visited us in 2011 – weird or what!
Back then we had ma’s foodie and very sensible friend P with us who is much more intelligent than I shall ever be. So we had managed to see a fair bit of the museum and then stumble into the bookshop after a fairly short bus ride from Kings Cross.(!!! when will I learn to navigate around London using the many apps on my phone – NEVER ?!! And to think P doesn’t even own a smartphone – yet – says a lot about how smart she is !)
Anyway, by the time we sat down at the table at the Cake Shop in the London Review Bookshop, we were severely dehydrated and needed some sugar to pump some energy back into our systems.
What better way than to order one of Terry Glover’s brilliant cakes? And yes two – yes yes you read that right two pots of Tea. To say that the London review Bookshop is neighbours with Le Cordon Bleu which has its own little cafe’ attached is no small matter. I must say the Le Cordon Bleu has a highly distinguished neighbour 🙂
So after indulging ourselves in a heavenly pot of tea from Sri Lanka called”chai-tea” ( I will rant about why it irks me to see 2 words with the same meaning used to name a variety of tea and fast becoming an acceptable ways of referring to Indian tea – NO folks chai is tea in Hindi – ”simples”!!) with a generous amount of honey to sweeten it , we were ready to face the world – or win a war whichever came first.
The bookshop is a treat for any self respecting book lover and a must-visit place,they have a basement reading room of sorts which is super quiet and a great cubby hole to loose yourself in. Perfect for when you want to switch off from the world outside – which I would like to very often.
So I managed to buy this book for a friend who loves and knows her tea,Tea by John Griffiths.
And ma got herself the most amazing – Sharks Fin and Sichuan Peppers by Fuchsia Dunlop- (If you love food you MUST read this book) .Really wanted to buy ,One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore but was broke by then.
A bit of tasty tidbits about the Cake Shop owner, taken from her bio on the London Review Bookshop website :
”Her signature style fuses Japanese and French influences, clinched with a chilli kick.
Terry finds inspiration in meeting the people behind the produce – growers, suppliers or cooks – who invest love, knowledge and personality in their food.”
I love how the many floral teas are displayed in these huge glass jars in this corner , apologies to the unknown person who happens to be in this picture , I only wanted the jars but you were so lost in reading I didn’t have the heart (or the courage tehehe) to disturb you!
Cake Shop at the London Review Bookshop is another of those cafes that I would want to visit several times over and I know I would enjoy each visit like a different flavour of tea or cake perhaps.Well that’s one tick off my must see places in London for sure.
That’s ma’s happy face after her tea, by the way she has written a guest post for me in a series of posts about Irani Cafes in Mumbai,Pune and London , which you can read here and she also is the author of a blog called Retro-Reflections, which has been silent for a few months now as she had a Valve replacement Open-Heart operation back home in Bombay.She is back to her cheerful self now ,thank god and her blog will see some action real soon.
I would love to know what you thought about this review , ma’s blog and our series on Irani cafes, I love reading all comments and it makes me immensely happy to share with all of you – my love of food,travel and all the little things that make life worth while.Thanks for reading 🙂
P.S: If you are as badly technologically challenged as I am and need directions of how to get to this gem of a place click here , the website has detailed directions of how to get to cafe without breaking into a sweat after walking for 40 minutes and having to think you might actually need to dial the emergency services!