The Waiting Room – Whetstone

Reviewed on May 10th, 2015 by Dina

A slightly different take on a cafe, The Waiting Room teams itself with its small home furnishing store. The Waiting Room is a really cute cafe adorned with fairy lights, dressers lined with lamps, frames, tealights and flowers. A garland of hearts decorates the cafe window. Stars hang above the lamps and small chandeliers also make up the lighting.

At the back of The Waiting Room, there are a few cosy seats. The rest of the cafe is made up of table and chairs. The soft lighting and jazz music create a lovely ambiance. Even though the cafe was busy, it was not noisy. There was a gentle hum about the place.

The staff were friendly and not intruding. They provided excellent personal service. The Waiting Room seemed to have its regular customers with the staff taking time out to chat to them. It made it feel like the staff were caring.

The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room TeaThe Waiting Room InteriorThe Waiting Room SandwichesThe Waiting Room Afternoon TeaThe Waiting Room SconesThe Waiting Room Interior 2The Waiting Room CakesThe Waiting Room Interior 3

As I was seated at the back of the cafe, I was next to the kitchen. It looked clean and compact. There was not much noise from the kitchen and hence it did not impact on the atmosphere.

The tea that caught my eye was the rooibos with cherry. The tea was from the Little Sparrow range of loose teas. A heavy silver teapot with its own stand contained the tea. There was a traditional feel to the teaware. Small flowers decorated the teacup and saucer.

The aroma of the cherry was strong from the loose tea. Sometimes teas can be a letdown, as in they do not taste as good as they smell. With this Little Sparrow tea, the taste of the cherry with the rooibos was divine. The staff had no problem refilling my tea when the pot was empty.

The Afternoon Tea continued with the silver theme and it was presented on a square silver cake stand. Squares of soft bread, one filled with classic cucumber and the other with cheese and pickle were the fresh sandwiches. It was nice to have a combination of white and brown bread.

The two small fruit scones were delightful. The attention to detail really made the Afternoon Tea at The Waiting Room great. Shot glasses with teaspoons contained thick clotted cream and strawberry jam. Whole pieces of strawberry made the jam more special.

The last of the cakes were the macaroon and chocolate brownie. The almond macaroon was perfectly crispy on the outside with a chewy texture and creamy filling. Rich, gooey and moist made up the intense chocolate brownie. Just to make it more indulgent it was lovely to have it with a little bit of the clotted cream and jam.

The Waiting Room gives a ray of sunshine to a dull rainy day. It definitely brought me that happy feeling. It is a gem of a place and I am excited to introduce my friends to the wonderful world of The Waiting Room!

The Waiting Room, 50-52 Totteridge Lane, Whetstone, London, N20 9QJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Kentish Canteen – Kentish Town

Reviewed on December 20th, 2014 by Dina

Arriving at Kentish Canteen on a Sunday for a friend’s birthday, it was jam packed. An eye catching collage on one of the walls was a great feature. Various breakfasts and lunches were being brought out as we waited in the entrance for the table.

There were salads and cakes on open display right where the customers were asked to queue for a vacant table. This meant that people were basically having their coats and clothes touching the open food as the customers were leaning on the display table. It is a shame as the food looked fresh and if it had been covered, it would have been a lot better.

Kentish CanteenKentish Canteen SmoothieKentish Canteen Collage WallKentish Canteen Food DisplayKentish Canteen Veggie Bean BurgerKentish Canteen Interior

The Tropical Popical smoothie was a thick fruity concoction of passionfruit, papaya, mango and pineapple. The Veggie Bean Burger with all its sides was presented on a wooden platter and there was enough to share between two people. The bean burger was dense and the bun had a brioche taste to it.

The skin on chunky chips were very moreish. The combination of sides went well together with the tasty bean burger. The sides included sweetcorn with star anise and coleslaw. A small dish of button mushrooms was also added to complete this filling meal.

The dining area was made up of wooden tables, chairs and some cushioned seating. The staff seemed to be rushed off their feet which resulted in the service been a bit hit and miss at times. A few times we had asked the staff for things and we had to ask again after a while. On a couple of occasions, even by the end of the meal, the requests had not been met.

Kentish Canteen does stock the local Kentishtowner newspaper and also did seem a popular place with the locals.

Kentish Canteen, 300 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2TG

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields – Trafalgar Square

Reviewed on February 24th, 2013 by Dina

A lovely Saturday afternoon visiting the National Gallery with my friend involved introducing her toddler to the wonderful painting of Whistlejacket. This huge oil on canvas painting of the young horse by George Stubbs is one of my favourites and always seems to impress me, no matter how many times I see it!

Following on from George Stubbs’ painting, we ventured onto see the beautiful Water-Lily Pond and other paintings by Monet. A visit to the National Gallery would not be complete if Monet’s paintings were not seen! We were lucky on this occasion as the National Gallery had two new acquisitions, Water Lillies, Setting Sun and The Japanese Bridge. Monet’s Impressionist paintings of his garden in Giverny are really special!

After our fun art filled afternoon, it was time to rest and go for a cup of tea. My friend suggested the nearby Cafe in the Crypt in St Martin-in-the-Fields. The cafe is below the church and can be accessed by the cylindrical pavilion entrance, just round the corner from the church.

Cafe in the CryptCafe in the Crypt TeaCafe in the Crypt Interior

Cafe in the Crypt is quite a striking cafe. The distinctive brick walls and arches make up this beautiful 18th century crypt. It is quite a large cafe and even when it is busy, there is a sort of peacefulness about it. This is helped by the soft lighting.

There is a selection of food on offer, all locally sourced where possible. Soup, hot food, sandwiches, salads, afternoon tea, hot puddings and cakes are all available. The hot food and the cakes are buffet style, but the thing that I liked was that it was served and not self service.

As we were here for tea, that is what we had. Although, I was tempted by the scone with clotted cream and jam! The pot of tea came as a little silver teapot with a jug of milk on the side. It was nice that the cups were more like the size of a mug!

Even though there is quite a lot of seating, the staff do make the effort to keep things clean. They are constantly cleaning and clearing up the tables, so that the cafe is well maintained.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, escaping to the tranquil Cafe in the Crypt is perfect. This is a hidden gem in the capital! Cafe in the Crypt is also host to Jazz Nights on particular weeknights.

Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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