I’ve always thought finding a nice and delicious café in central London to be quite the challenge. Meeting a friend for tea or coffee in a café that isn’t Starbucks, Café Nero or Costa Coffee is far more complicated than it ought to be. To make this a little easier in future, I am sharing my tried and tested hangouts. Each and everyone serves great tea and coffee, along with delicious food. Enjoy!
On the 4th floor of Dover Street Market is Rose Bakery (17-18 Dover St, London W1S 4LT). I’ve recommended Rose Bakery in Paris (as you can read here) and suggest you pay its London dependence the same courtesy. While the vibe is different, being much more laid back and casual, the food is just as delicious. The Bakery is open until 5pm (Sunday until 4pm) and tea and coffee are served all day. They have delicious, healthy pastries available all day and a fantastic select lunch menu, which I highly recommend. I caution you not to come too late, as lunch goers leave little behind (understandably, considering the fantastic food).
Fortnum and Mason’s The Fountain (Corner of Jermyn and Duke Street, SW1Y 6LX London or via Piccadilly) serves the tea Fortnum and Mason is famous for and it is simply delicious. I love coming here to have a cup of tea and potentially indulge in some scones and clotted cream. The lovely décor, integrating turquoise and a beautiful green, gives it a light and elegant feel and a welcome break from loud and busy London. Also, its central location is simply perfect!
Another perfect hideaway and true gem is Fernandez and Wells at Somerset House (The Strand, WC2R 1LA). Their best feature is the fantastic seating outside in the beautiful Somerset House courtyard, so come here when it’s not raining. You can enjoy a quiet moment away from the bustle, while watching the fountain, and, if you’re lucky, soak up some sun. They serve great sandwiches and have a fantastic selection of cured meats, cheese and wine. Most definitely one of my favorite places in London!
Similarly, there is the very chic Bluebird Café in Chelsea (350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU), perfect in the warm weather because of their great outside seating area. You can relax here and enjoy a cup of tea following strenuous shopping down Kings Road or a visit to the nearby Saatchi Gallery. They also have a bakery, bistro and restaurant, each serving yummy food.
A good alternative to high street brands is Gail’s Artisan Bakery (http://gailsbread.co.uk/). Gail’s is actually also a chain, they have 16 cafés throughout London, SoHo (seen on the pictures) and Bloomsbury being their two most central locations. However, I love their interiors and the beautiful display of pastries. More importantly, the quality is reliably good and tasty. They also serve smaller dishes, so it’s perfect for a light lunch, an afternoon break or brunch on weekends.