Friday, 22 April 2011

A review of Hurwundeki Cafe

 298 - 299 Cambridge Heath Road London E2 9HA

As I have just moved into a new flat with the finest fellow in town, unfortunately I have no internet so am unable to blog as regularly as I would like. But, one of the great joys of moving to a new place, I find, is exploring the local area and adopting certain places into your imagined landscape of ‘home’. Being a cafe addict, I found myself very nervous at the thought that there might not be a good cafe nearby in which to while away lazy Saturday mornings or escape to when my postage stamp sized flat got a little too claustrophobic.

You’ll be relieved to hear that a mere five minute walk from my flat I found the wonderful Hurwundeki. A cafe-lovers paradise, this eclectic space consists of a generous yard out front with rickety garden furniture and tricycles scattered around for the little ones, as well as a high-ceilinged vault-like space under the arches of the railway bridge overhead for keeping out of the blazing April sun and tapping away on your laptop on their generous free wifi.

I should mention, that a happy accident of having no internet at home means that this is my first ‘live’ blog. I am, as we speak, sitting in Hurwundeki sipping on an exquisitely poured latte (in a latte glass with a heart in the top no less) waiting for my sausage and tomato sandwich to arrive.

Although I was really after a cooked breakfast, I must admit I’m not too disappointed at the alternative sandwich. The rest of the menu is equally creative with minimal-cook breakfast options such as pancakes and muesli with yoghurt as well as a range of sandwiches, salads, quiches and the most amazing board of sweet tarts, cakes and muffins.

The fact that I’ve now been to Hurwundeki three times, having only lived in the area for two weeks, shows that it has something to offer at any time of day. I’ve been in the morning at the weekend and in the afternoon on a weekday and it’s always busy – a good sign if ever there was one.

So, if you’re ever in Victoria Park, shopping down Columbia Road or mooching around Brick Lane, consider walking a little out of your way to pay Hurwundeki a visit, you won’t regret it. Oh, here’s my sandwich...

Hurwundeki are on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Berlin cafe reviews

I was lucky enough to spend this weekend in sun soaked Berlin and do a little blog research whilst there. Berlin in a fabulous city with many more amazing cafes than those listed here but I hope these few will tempt you enough for now:

Keyser Soze
33 Tucholskystr, Mitte, Berlin, Germany

Named after the mysterious underworld character from 1995 film The Usual Suspects, there’s something strangely familiar about this street side cafe quite apart from its cultural reference. Whether it’s the friendly staff, comprehensive menu, or laid back atmosphere, even when freshly arrived for the first time in Berlin you can feel immediately at home here.

The perfect place to catch your breath, refer to your guide book and plan your next move, Keyser Soze is conveniently located a short walk from Friedrichstrasse station in the centre of the city. We stopped off for a well needed caffeine hit after a 6.30am flight and refuelled with scrambled eggs and these jaw dropping club sandwiches. Seriously reasonably priced, our first foray into the cafe culture of Berlin was well rewarded.

77 Kreuzbergstrasse, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

There are two things which almost immediately grab my attention when wandering the streets of a new city: fairy lights, and bunting. So far, this slightly odd way of choosing bars, cafes, restaurants and boutiques has served me well and this time was no exception. I was so drawn by the lights, bunting and brightly coloured chairs adorning the street outside Knickelkopp that I even made my friends cross the street so that we could check it out.

On entering, I was pleasantly surprised as the candy coloured exterior, though clearly visually appealing, led me to assume that the main produce on offer would be overly iced neon-coloured cupcakes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The interior is calm and fresh and the woman who greeted us couldn’t have been more welcoming or helpful. We only stopped for a quick coffee but I was so taken by this place I’d make the effort to seek it out next time I’m in Berlin.

Salon Schmuck
80 Skalitzer Strasse, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

After walking through a new city for a few hours you often get to a point at which your need for cake is so overwhelming you just. can’t. continue. Often, this is the point when you fall into the nearest establishment and find yourself with stale doughnuts and bitter coffee. However, in Berlin you are completely spoilt for choice with great cafes, bars and restaurants to take a pit stop and it so happened that Salon Schmuck was perfectly located for our 3pm refuel.

With a relaxed, street side ambience, and at least four different types of cake so decadent that choosing one was a little intimidating, it was the perfect spot to take a break and stock up on the calories needed to continue our adventure. Baked cheesecake with raspberries and carrot cake were our choices and went down a treat with fresh tea leaves ingeniously installed in fold down tea bags.