Monthly Archives: August 2009

Pop in to Soho’s new pop-up

The pop-up eating and drinking establishment is as ubiquitous as London’s other current obsession, the flash mob (is there anything they won’t ‘pay homage’ to in Liverpool St station with a camera rolling?), but are any of them worth the space they inhabit?

Bistrotheque founders Pablo Flack and David Waddington have been hosting arty guerilla dinners in disused buildings for years and in October, they’re taking over the Masonic Temple at Andaz for a 3 night ritualistic supper club – good luck booking a table!

But you know that a good thing has been spoiled when premium spirit brands try to get in on the act by errecting ‘ice bars’ in…ahem, already existing posh watering holes, signposted with oversized advertising – surely that’s cheating?!

Central Perk

So, cynics will probably pan the upcoming Central Perk replica coffee shop as the most grotesque of the lot, but unlike the masquerading ‘ice bars’, the new fleeting addition to Soho’s cappuccino scene doesn’t take itself too seriously and is shamelessly nostaglic and just on the right side of twee.

Sipping a coffee next to show memorabilia like Rachel’s wedding dress will not bring you any closer to your favourite Friends characters and it will no doubt be so packed that you and your ‘urban family’ won’t be able to bag the centre sofas, but it could be a fun alternative to after-work drinks.

Gunther

If you’re still unsure about taking that potentially painful trip down memory lane, Gunther (no really, he’s actually opening the cafe on 23 Sept) and co are offering a FREE COFFEE voucher to download from 14 September – could that BE any more generous?

Central Perk in London, 24 September-7 October, 67 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 9QX.

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Bon café @ Beaubourg

Ok, so Café Beaubourg is hardly off the beaten track – it stands in a square of sublime artiness, neighbouring the Centre Pompidou – but it has become my favourite place to stop for a coffee in Paris. 

Often described as a haunt of the ‘fash pack/jet set/fashionistas’ or whatever you want to such privileged folk, Café Beaubourg is more BCBG than bobo, but don’t worry, there’s no sectioned off, limited view area for ‘civillians’ (thanks for that, Liz Hurley).

Cafe Beaubourg terrace

A café crème on the terrace feels divine after a long day wandering around the city and it’s in a prime spot for watching art students, Marais hipsters and chihuahuas (with their owners, of course) going about their day.  In the winter, keep warm on the other side of the red velvet drapes and cosy up on a banquette amidst vast concrete columns and bookcases.

Café Beaubourg’s logo-emblazoned sugar lumps and cool soundtrack give away that it’s another outlet from that old paragon of  good taste, Hotel Costes, but I was completely in awe of their amazing lightning bolt cups – kleptos, control yourselves!

Cafe Beaubourg

But most importantly, the search for the best croque madame is temporarily over, as Café Beaubourg’s is a traditional béchamel-smothered 2 slicer, complete with a delicious french salad and bowl of crisp fries.  In future posts, you will understand my utter contempt for dry and flimsy pain poilane rip-offs, and believe me, there are many of them in gay Paree.

Wherever you go in central Paris, you’re likely to pay upwards of 3.50 Euros for a coffee and Café Beaubourg doesn’t seem to be any more expensive than usual if you’re sticking to the lunchtime menu. 

Café Beaubourg, 100, Rue Saint Martin, 75004 Paris, France

Nearby: Centre Pompidou, Fontaine Stravinski, le Marais, la Seine,

Metro: Rambuteau or Hôtel-de-Ville