Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A review of The Natural Kitchen

77-78 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5JX

As well as cafes, coffee and cake, one of my favourite hobbies is reading. I love books. Fiction, non-fiction, coffee-table, picture books – I love them all. It probably helps that I was brought up in a house resembling a library and that my mum even worked in one for a lot of my childhood.
Daunt Books

Generally, whilst whiling away a few hours in a favourite cafe I will have a favourite paperback at the ready to keep me entertained. But quite often I run out of books to read and must seek out my next venture. I usually beg, borrow or steal books from friends and family, or failing that, I head off to my nearest charity shop for a few hours browsing. However, if I’m feeling particularly decadent, I’ll head over the Marylebone and peruse the shelves of Daunt Books – a retro emporium containing every tome imaginable.

It was on one such day, whilst in a decadent frame of mind, that I headed into The Natural Kitchen also on Marylebone High Street seeking out a caffeine and sugar hit to see me through the first few pages of my new book. The cafe-cum-deli-cum-restaurant is slightly confusing on first entering. Making my way upstairs I asked the waiting staff if it was ok to have a seat and just have some coffee and cake and was promptly informed that afternoon tea did not start until 4pm and was hastily banished downstairs.

Now, I know I was in Marylebone so had to expect that certain customs would be different to, say, my local cafe in Bethnal Green, but I must admit I was a bit taken aback at their rigid approach to dining. However, once installed in a more suitable environment for stuffing my face I did find a delectable selection of muffins at the front counter which I could order and eat at a table at the back.

NATURAL KITCHENI went for the seeded, spiced carrot cake muffin, though I did also eye up the blueberry as a close contender. The coffee was also very tasty and came in generously sized mugs so that I had plenty of time to get stuck in to my new book without running out.

The menu in the informal downstairs space centred on cakes, salads and quiches/flans which can be purchased in containers in various combinations. Prices are predictably steep given the location - a salad will set you back between five and seven pounds. However, you can grab a sarnie for under four quid so it’s not totally exclusionary.

Once I’d finished my afternoon tea (although it was still not quite four ‘o clock), I perused the shelves of seasonal, organic etc. produce and happened across some of my Mum’s favourite liquorice tea bags which she was finding it rather hard to get hold of in deepest darkest Essex. Clutching my purchase I slipped out into the rain and back to the east end, where I belong.

You can check out The Natural Kitchen's website here.

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