Thursday, 23 February 2012

A review of Foxcroft and Ginger

42-43 Boxpark, Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 (main cafe 3 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DR)

Finally made it to Boxpark on Saturday, despite only living 20 minutes down the road. The concept of a ‘pop up mall’ made from shipping containers certainly got my geographical juices running (I did a whole module on the geographies of fashion at uni...) but their promise of ‘a unique mix of international fashion and lifestyle brands’ rather put me off if I’m honest. With disappointingly few retailers I’d actually buy from, the galleries and cafes are pretty much the only thing that actually caught my interest.

Having heard about Foxcroft & Ginger and dribbled over their website, I was rather chuffed to find they have a pop up at Boxpark so I didn’t have to hotfoot it over to Soho to check them out. Arriving just as a torrential downpour hit London, my sister and I were rather pleased to surrender ourselves to an hour in their cosy, woodshed-like installation.

We were greeted as soon as we came through the door and, expressing our intention to shelter from the rain, were taken to a table and given menus.  There’s plenty of seating for a little place, although if you’re sat in the corridor rather than against the wall you do have to give in to people brushing past you every few minutes (adds to the charm...). 
I had a latte and THE MOST AMAZING apple cinnamon bun I have ever eaten. It was literally sex on a plate (as I promptly tweeted). They make all their breads, pastries and jams themselves which is pretty impressive and I can’t think of a better place for afternoon tea on a rainy day.

Their coffee is usually Monmouth, but I did spy some bags of Climpson & Sons beans which is actually my preferred roaster. It was tasty and well poured either way. My sister had an Americano which came in a cute cup and saucer:

And there was ample supply of minted water when our coffees had dried up but the weather hadn’t.

They also do a full brunch menu and some bigger meals including lamb shoulder and triple cooked chips – I’ll definitely be hitting up their Soho HQ sooner rather than later!

Foxcroft & Ginger are on Twitter, Facebook and have a website.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Prufrock latte art class

23-25 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TE

I was lucky enough to be given a voucher for one of Prufrock Coffee’s Saturday school classes for Christmas (after a certain amount of pre-Christmas hinting...). So keen was I to use it, I got my butt along to the London ‘BRAT’ (Barista Resource and Training centre) the second week in January to try out their latte art class.

If you’ve read the ‘about me’ section of this blog, you’ll know I’ve worked in a couple of coffee shops so assumed I’d be ok with the basics and could jump right in with the fancy stuff. Turns out I may have been a little over ambitious - despite expert tuition from the wonderful Jeremy, even after a few attempts my latte art looked like this:
 Although three hours wasn’t nearly enough time to master the basics of latte art, it was great to hear the theory (...something about muscle memory?) and watch an expert at work. Plus I got to meet a group of other coffee enthusiasts and we had a laugh at our disastrous attempts.

As well as showing us the basics of heating and aerating milk to create the sought after ‘micro-foam’, we were taken through the various elements necessary to make the perfect coffee. The amount of coffee you use, the coarseness of the grind, the temperature of water hitting the coffee, and the time it’s left to filter through all affect the overall taste (apparently).

These guys take coffee EXTREMELY seriously and do things to a much higher standard than your average coffee shop, and way beyond what you’d ever do at home. However, it was really good to see how things should be done by the real experts. £65 might seem a bit pricey but for a three hour small group tutorial it’s more than worth it.

Find out more on their website.