I go out a lot.
So I thought, instead of simply having them take all my money, I’d squeeze some purpose out of these pleasure trips. I’m starting a new series of posts where I review random places, cafes, restaurants, study spots, etc., I’ve been checking out.
Location: 31 Shad Thames, SE1 2YR
Purpose for the trip: hunting for a new study place
The entrance caused a slight confusion, it is located between two false doors that are locked and up a small ramp. But the initial surprise quickly faded as Norah Jones met the sweet smell of caffeine. More than a dozen containers of every-flavoured teas sits dutifully on the shelves behind the waitress as I ordered my white Americano. Pay. Sit. Order’s Up. They bring it to you.
Four other small square tables of customers, the speaker right over head, and the noise level was just a little too above ambient to bare. As much as I like the songs drifting off of the playlist, I plugged my earbuds in for some less distracting Spotify sounds.
The menu holds a wide variety of drinks ranging from tea of every colour, black, green, red, green, herbal and even blue, to the usual assortment of coffees, plus smoothies (with real fruits!) and iced drinks. Little “LC” (Low-Caffine) and “CF” (Caffine-Free) signs tell you just how much caffeine you are feeding into your body.
Flip the menu over and you get a nice selection of breakfast and light lunches. If you like meat with your first meal of the day, perhaps this isn’t the place for you. They offer pancakes, bagels, tea and toast! (exclamation mark included), oats and yogurts with dancing honey, strawberry, and bananas. Midday delights promise potatoes, salmon and cream cheese. Lots and lots of cream cheese. If you want to be soup-ed up, they have daily specials (for that day, it was pea & ham, or leek & potato, healthy stuff). But if you want a little something different, why not try their curry stew. Sounds like a palette adventure!
Of course, no cafe or tea house can exist without sweets! Brownies are a must and so are muffins and cakes of all kinds. Here, they promise to be all “home-made”. Big shoes to fill.
I started out with my usual white Americano. But two hours in, and I was ready for my midday snack and tea. So I asked to be served up with rosepedal green tea, although I’m going to have to come back and try the beautifully named “Jasmine Dragon Pearls” (green) and “Light Spring Darjeeling” (black), not to mention the “Pure Rose Buds” herbal tea. Tea! Give me tea!
Now probably the most important aspect of any cafe, especially for a student like myself, is the wifi. How strong is the force? Very. The wifi is fast and glitch-free. Just ask one of the three waitresses/waiters for the password and you are ready for a few hours of inside the black hole that is the Internet.
Service: Average, smiles once in a while.
Noise Level: Earbuds needed.
Would I come back? Yes. It’s close to home. It’s affordable. It’s not too crowded. It’s warm. And it has tea. Lots and lots of tea.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Best for: Tea-drinkers, wifi-users, afternoon chatters, and if you have the noise-defiant earbuds like I do it’s a good place to spend an afternoon reading or studying away.