Tag Archives: cafe

Fish Cafe

Isn’t Hampstead beautiful in the sunshine? We found ourselves wondering in the heath for hours, trying to soak in this lovely spring sun. Our walk certainly made us very hungry, wasting no time we popped into the first cafe we came across that was open for an early lunch.

Fish Cafe does what it says on the door. Their menu was a plethora of aquatic animals, all options available grilled or steamed. We kicked meal off with classic prawns in garlic butter. Couldn’t fault them, they were big and juicy. I loved fresh zingy salad that came with it.

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For me fish is something that is very hard to get wrong. The beauty of a well grilled piece is that it stays succulent and the accompanying dishes let the natural flavors of the fish shine. I like sea bream for it’s meatiness and the fact that there are not too many small bones, most coming apart from the meat when you pull the spine. My sea bream was juicy with nice crispy skin, steamed veg was presented in a fun manner, whole dish was simple but kind of perfect.

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Fish pie was another story. It’s a risky item to order unless you are by the seaside where pies come straight out of the oven. But our hungry tums always fall weak at the sight of a pie on the menu. This was a huge portion. Pastry was thick and the fish stuffing was a little bland, had to be fixed with a little salt and pepper.

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We were the only customers at the restaurant, at the end of our meal the manager of the restaurant came over for a chat. And what a chat it was! In less than twenty minutes we have felt we knew absolutely everything there is to know about Christian. Such a good laugh. He made us feel extremely welcome and for that reason we are very likely to come back.

Fish Cafe is a no fuss restaurant with uber fast service, I would definitely recommend popping in for some great grilled fish.

Fish Café
71 Hampstead High Street. Hampstead. London NW3 1QP.
http://www.villabiancagroup.co.uk/our-restaurants/fish-cafe/

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Coffee Break: Saint Espresso 

‘The interior is so Copenhagen’ said Elena as we settled down for an after lunch coffee session. Still not sure what that actually means and I have googled interiors of Copenhagen since and I guess it is a bit industrial?!(?!!)??!!’

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We love coffee and have love affair with coffee time which ever city we are in. Whether it’s a coffee and a nata in Lisbon, a espresso and conolli in Rome or a Turkish coffee with a piece of baklava in Istanbul, it is a ritual we fulfill every day.

On our trip to Rome we learned a lot about coffee etiquette which changed our lives. For an Italian an espresso is a ‘stand up and go’ kind of thing, people will walk into espresso bars like Tazza D’oro knock back a shot and head straight to work. So no chit chat and no ‘something sweet’ on the side. We also learned that a cappuccino and a latte had a time and a place and it was only to be consumed in the mornings. Italians cringe at the idea of drinking hot milk after a meal so never order a cappuccino after a meal in order to avoid the ‘stupid tourist’ look.

Coffee break at Manteigaria União in Lisbon
Coffee break at Manteigaria União in Lisbon

Lisbon taught us that a coffee is nothing without a freshly baked nata (Pastel de nata – Portuguese egg tart pastry). With the same notion that you walk into a coffee bar and out within 5 mins having consumed a delicious coffee and a nata. It’s just part of the process of your day to day life.

So when we go to a coffee house in London we truly appreciate the event that takes place, the care and attention the barista gives you from the selection of coffee to finding out about your day to the range of people you are seated next to, each person there with their own story: writing a book, planning a wedding, catching with friends, etc. Saint Espresso is all of these things and more, with a slogan of ‘Coffee to worship’ you know you are in for a treat.

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I urge you to really watch the Saint Espresso barista making the coffee, so much love, care and attention goes into each individual drink. The focus on the baristas face as he weighs the coffee granules, puts them in the machine and eagerly waits for the espresso to trickle out, heats and froths the milk and combines the two liquids together to create our cup of cappuccino (yeh, so we basically ignored everything we had learned in Rome and got a cappuccino after lunch).

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We ordered something sweet and we’re happy to see the selection of gluten free options as Elena is trying this gluten free diet yet she have had consumed gluten heavy food for the past three days but hay-ho I’m just that supportive cheerleader.

We nestled down in a spot and just talked about coffee and reflected on all of the above as we sipped on our rich and strong Saint Espresso cappuccino. I was excited to know that Saint Espresso change their beans frequently and only buy them in small batches to ensure they have the best quality and taste always which shows how much they care about coffee and our experience of it. After further investigation it seems the same applies to the teas so it does feel pretty special knowing that each coffee and tea experience is pretty unique and that actually we could be one of 1000 sampling a particular batch in the world. I love feeling special.

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The baristas walk around and engage in conversation with customers where it is welcomed. The barista that spoke to us seemed genuinely concerned about how little we had eaten of our cakes and wanted to know why, we had to confess we were fat bastards and had just eaten a huge lunch yet we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of sampling their delights this Sunday afternoon.

Saint Espresso is small in size but it’s bursting with a love of coffee which we as Londoners will always appreciate.

Saint Espresso
4, Angel House, 20-32 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HJ
http://www.saintespresso.com