Tuesday, 31 January 2012


De Gustibus' eye-catching Tortino sandwich slices - vegetables, mozzarella & olives.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Story of a Seat

Story is selling their seats - sturdy industrial packing cases - at £17 a time.  Let no one say design trends are expensive. To be found on Redchurch Street just by the Albion Caff and re-located from Brick Lane because the area was too much hassle, Story is a real one-off:
  • No bookings
  • Cash only
  • Open every day including Christmas 12.00 to 22.30
  • 100% organic ingredients
  • £15 pizzas
  • http://storydeli.com/
  • Great seats
I also liked their business card on recycled scraps of cardboard - so much better than the neat corporate effort alongside it.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Fuller Longer

M&S and their Fuller Longer products.  Will this catch on?

Friday, 27 January 2012

15.4 Million Wi-Fi Reasons

We were wrong - only 15.4 million Ipads were shipped in the 12 weeks to Christmas - not the 20 million we reported back in October http://greatcafes.blogspot.com/2011/10/wifi-get-with-it.html

Unbelievably, we still come across 'third spaces' (a.k.a cafes) that haven't yet installed wi-fi.  Wakey, wakey, another cafe with wi-fi will takey your sales.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Back to the 80s

Don't you feel old when CDs are seen as a retro item!  Konditor & Cook's fun take on 'Back to the 80s' good value cakes.  Their outlet in the Soho Curzon cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue is so much better than the usual popcorn emporium.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Everything including the Kitchen Sink

Tapped & Packed Cafe at 26 Rathbone Place clearly believe in recycling, minimising capital costs and creating an unique design - a wonderful antidote to the stainless steel well.

Wall clock feature and sugar bowl - treacle is offered with the porridge.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Cake + Plants = 55 Million

55 million people visited a garden centre cafe last year according to a report just out from the Horticultural Trades Association - up from 36 million in 2008.  Garden centre cafes are booming - 10% up in 2011 on 2010 according to the larger centres represented by the Garden Centre Association.

The only slight issue may be that customers under 45 are apparently less delighted with garden centre catering than those over 45.  My take on this, as outlined at the GCA's conference yesterday, is that as the cafes get bigger and more professional they are losing some of their appeal in terms of personality, humour and quirkiness.

Solution:  Read this blog and sign up for a London Cafe Tour!  The best have already done so.

Good food is at the heart of a great cafe but I am coming to realise that good design is the way to stand out, be noticed and win the hearts and business of those under 45s.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Browns of Brockley

Superb sandwiches at south east London's Browns of Brockley

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Poilâne the Baker

Named rolls (at £3.05 each) and decorated loaves at Poilâne the baker's only UK store in Elizabeth Street, London.  Famous for their sourdough and wood-fired ovens.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Tea Selection

Fortnum & Mason's tea display is great - you can savour the smell of each type of (dried) tea by lifting the lid of the see-through tea pots.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Banana Pretzels & Bronky

Good on Fresh Element at the Baltic for coming up with some original items - a Bronky is made of cookie dough; hard on the outside and soft inside, so now you know.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's Very Hot. Oh No It's Not!

It's pantomine season on the East Coast train from Newcastle to London.  We try not to moan on this blog - there are so many great cafe stories to tell - but the warm water dispensed from the trolley service made for a truly revolting cup of tea.  On the way up, the trolley had no hot water at all.  £1.85 worth of disappointment and the waste of a Yorkshire Gold teabag.

Thankfully, Fresh Element at the Baltic made up for it with a Bronky - see tomorrow's blog for explanation.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Brrrr ..... Blankets

Baker & Spice have the right idea for those sheltering (or smoking) outside.

Monday, 16 January 2012

London Cafe Tours

Check out our new London Cafe Tours video produced by talented Pete Horton-Fawkes with music by Avicii.  The tours are customised for each client and designed so that you can appreciate trends, innovation and best practice in this fast-changing sector.

Contact us if you all too rarely get out of your office and want to see what is happening in the marketplace in terms of:
·         New and evolving cafe developments, brands and products
·         The latest and leading elements of 'buy with your eyes' cafe presentation
·         How the bar is constantly being raised in terms of standards
·         The leading players and those to watch
·         Design ideas as they may relate to your market
·         Being challenged by a leading catering consultant who is aware of who is winning business and why

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Meat Fruit

Finally made it to Heston's 'Dinner' restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel - 2.45pm on a Saturday lunch and  packed.  The famous Meat Fruit starter apparently has its origins in the c.13th - 15th century and the leaf isn't edible.  It takes three days to make, cost £14.50 and was quite delicious.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Vintage Tea

On a visit to Gateshead I heard about Stacie Stewart who supplies savoury tarts to the Sage: 

Stacie - a Masterchef finalist from Sunderland - has set up the Beehive Bakery and comes to your home or workplace in a vintage VW campervan with "an array of stunning handmade cakes and sandwiches on vintage kitsch china served with high tea!"   Check out  http://www.thebeehivebakery.co.uk/the-beehive-vintage-tea-party-experience.html

I love her on-line profile: "Ive been a mod since about 96, I love music, clothes and food. I ride on a 68 Lambretta Li 125 and a Lambretta J125 Starstream. I can't spell, but I have impeccable manners."

Food wagons and afternoon tea are all the rage; Stacie and her Vintage Tea sound fun.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Fighting the Cold

Pret's Hot Winter Menu - soup, wraps and toasties
Soup at Caffe Nero with toasted ciabatta bread - another clever use of that panini grill
Peyton & Byrne's Soup & Lamb Sausage Roll for a fiver offer

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Pod's Pots

Pod's pots - Oaty Lemon Curd, Blackberry Fruity Superfood, Honey Seed & Prune Yohurt and Mango Superfood

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Water on Tap

A new, fun meaning to 'water on tap' at Department of Coffee & Social Affairs Cafe

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

North of the Border

We occasionally get north of the Border and my colleague Charles reports that Hendersons in Edinburgh Old Town combines a characterful vegetarian restaurant, bistro, deli and shop plus a few seats and free water.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Carrot, Mango & Lime

EAT continue innovating with their juices - Carrot, Mango & Lime plus Pink Grapefruit & Passionfruit are their winter recipes.
see previous http://greatcafes.blogspot.com/2011/08/beetroot-apple-ginger.html

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Grind to Stratford

Grind Coffee has a unit in Putney and has gone east to Westfield Stratford
Open bakery kitchen

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Sugars with a difference at The Hungry Guest, Petworth

Friday, 6 January 2012

Multi Deck Salad

Neat use of a multi-deck chiller to display a salad bar at Barton Grange Garden Centre

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Simple Sandwich

EAT's new Simple Range and large price stickers