Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A blissful half hour of mid-week peace at the Monocle Cafe

I love Marylebone.  The wonderful shops, cute little cafes and great Sunday Farmers Markets. Not to mention, it is home to the place that I had my first job in London, the legendary La Fromagerie, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

So a lovely friend of mine sent me a message a few months back simply saying 'Review Please' with a link to The Monocle Cafe.  So I looked it up, read all about it - and have taken far too long to actually get there, considering how close it is.  So this week I promised myself I would go.  And today was the day.  I dropped off the biggest child at school, then headed on in to Marylebone, the youngest thankfully falling asleep en route, therefore allowing me a peaceful half hour at least being able to enjoy finally achieving this goal!

And so I arrived at the Monocle Cafe.  Nestled in amongst a bridal store and antique showroom, this trendy little cafe was everything I expected.  Petite, beautiful earthy design, and still buzzing enough for a mid morning on a Wednesday.  I promptly inspected the cake cabinet and ordered a Lanka cheesecake and a Flat White, and took the paper under my arm to enjoy sitting outside on the pavement (something you rarely get to enjoy with a crawler and toddler around).

My plate arrived and I was instantly impressed.  Something that I really feel London establishments fail to do is impress with service and presentation.  So far, so good.  Not only was I in trendy surrounds, but my order was presented with speed, and in style.  A gorgeous tray encased my cheesecake (itself on an impressive plate), the perfect temperature flat white, a branded wet wipe and my requested glass of tap water which came as a carafe of minted liquid.  How simple these few touches are - and yet so memorable, so impressive.  The water presentation alone I would have given top marks for had I just been reviewing that!

So I sat and enjoyed the moments of child-free silence. Then I took a wander inside.  This cafe is famous for cataloging all the suppliers used in the creation of the cafe - the floors, crockery, coffee - you name it.  Hasami ceramics, the red oak counter lit by Ebolicht pendants, bar stools from Aussies One/Third, Lanka cakes, Fabrique Bakery pastries and Allpress coffee beans - just to name a few.  The aesthetics of the cafe have been described as a cross between a 'Japanese Sushi Bar and Swedish Sauna House'.  I've never been to the latter, but I can certainly feel the japanese air, particularly in the way the lunch menu items are presented in photographs, numbered, on the counter wall.

Up the back of the cafe lies a TV room all darkened with comfy sofas, and a downstairs hang out for the overflowing lunch crowds.  I certainly did enjoy my morning tea here, and cannot wait to come back and try it again one lunch, in particular to taste test their grilled cheese sandwich.


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