All posts filed under: London

OPINION: Brexit and London Architecture

Whether Britain will continue being a key player in shaping contemporary architecture and design mainly depends on the terms it reaches with Europe.   The Shard, a glittering spike of glass soaring into the sky, the new Tate extension, a twisted, off-kilter pyramid are just a few examples of incredible architecture in London. These masterpieces are not only iconic buildings that go to the heart of British identity but they just happen to have been designed by European architects. The rise of modern architecture in the late 20th Century in the UK was greatly fuelled by the open borders. While the world was shrinking, ideas were spreading across Europe. Now it seems like Britain is doomed to travel back in time to isolate itself with thousand of copycat rows of Victorian houses and Prince Charles’ beloved ‘traditional’ architecture. There is no beating about the bush. “Leaving the EU would mean the ‘Guernseyfication’ of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale. It would isolate itself and become a trading post …

London Coffee Festival with Shinsaku Fukayama

Londoners had a chance to get over-caffeinated once again in the annual London Coffee Festival which is the largest of its kind in the world. It celebrates coffee culture by gathering the best baristas and hosting coffee shops from all around the Europe under one roof. The festival invites customers to learn about the basics of cupping, how to roast, brew at home or pour a beautiful latte art. It has also featured major demonstrations from world-class baristas and latte art masterclasses. Coming all the way from Australia, Shinsaku “Shin” Fukayama is one of the most anticipated guests in this year’s London Coffee Festival. His journey in coffee industry has started four years ago in St Ali, one of the most famous specialty coffee shops in Australia, and by now he is known as a World Latte Art Champion. Shin rushed to London straight after Australian Latte Art Championship where he took the second place. In Latte Art Live shows, Shin amazed crowds by free-pouring his original latte designs – a monkey, an astronaut and …

Coffee Market is Full of Beans as Trading Price is Dropping

The UK’s coffee market has been steadily expanding with an increasing number of imports, International Coffee Organization’s latest figures reveal.  “Britain is moving from nation of tea drinkers to what now is becoming a nation of coffee drinkers,” – said Jeffrey Young, managing director of Allegra Strategies. The UK coffee-shop business is booming with about 2 billion coffees drunk in the UK out of home each year from more than 18,000 outlets. The number of shops is set to grow to almost 21,000 by 2020, according to Allegra Strategies, research consultancy. Britain’s growing passion for coffee means constantly increasing demand for coffee import, which is eventually expected to lead to the expansion of the industry by at least 6% a year. However, Jeffrey Young is skeptical about Trading Economics forecast: “That contradicts a lot of data that we have collected. Their forecast might be true in the short-term but our predictions are that in the long-term prices will increase in specialty coffee.” He points the fundamental shortage of coffee to be one of the major reasons for future trading price hike. “The long-term dynamics …

Simplicity Equals Perfection

Late Sunday morning in Tokyo. Yesterday’s black suits-filled streets are empty. But this emptiness breathes another life into the alleys. My fingertips are craving to feel the touch of natural linen in Shimokitazawa’s Fog store. The nostalgic ‘made in Lithuania’ label shortens the distance between Europe and Asia in seconds. The sun reaches its peak and I start wandering around quiet streets of Setagaya. I settle in minimalistic café, which offers me a cup of heart-warming coffee and homemade years-mastered anpan*. Wake up. You are not in Tokyo. You’ve just found a small patch of Japan in Ealing Broadway. … Tucked away in West London, Ealing has become popular with Japanese community. Loads of Asian restaurants offering sushi and bento are cheaper than Central but still too pricey for my pocket. But when it comes to coffee and sweet delights I always manage to loosen my budget – those are my ‘money can’t buy’ little moments of happiness. My radar is always ON searching for Japanese atmosphere. Café in Japan is unique as it provides …

Rejoice in the Land of Purist Coffee: Lanark Coffee

  London’s coffee purists stick to simple little spots that fully concentrate on quality in the cup. Lanark is one of those cafes with the shortest menus ever: espresso, espresso with milk or filter. It is a perfect spot to hide from hustle and bustle of Columbian Road and Broadway Market as its minimalist design and simple menu help guests to turn their attention to the complexity of specialty coffee.     True coffee guru would know Greg Boyce’s coffee-making abilities from Alchemy and Black Box. Lanark Coffee is his new coffee venture launched in 2014. Greg does not settle with one kind of beans but you can fully rely on his selected coffee from top micro-roasters. At the time of my arrival, behind the counter Greg has got beautiful Rwandan roast from Alchemy and East London’s Dark Arts Coffee waiting for its turn. Lanark is a coffee bar with its particular pure coffee approach: no soya milk or tea options here and sugar is available only on request. A tiny coffee bar inside is …

Curators of Coffee, Art and Flawless Design

A small group of Antipodeans has gathered together for another coffee venture, where design infused with art of coffee brings space for local artists and coffee aficionados. Opened in 2014 summer, ‘Currators Coffee’ has been ‘loud’ since then. Blessed be Fitzrovia for its best selection of coffee shops in London and ‘Curators Coffee’ has absolutely deserved to be on this list. The Curators Coffee design fueled with creativity and innovation has brought two beautiful spaces to the City. However, Curators Gallery is the one that gets the most attention for its unique concept and flawless design. An airy space devided into ground floor and basement was designed by interior designer and stylist Ana Foster-Adams. A former clothing store on Margeret Street has been retransformed into a modern cafe and gallery space.  A design of careful thought and detail is the perfect environment for local art to be displayed and admired. Apart from artistic canvas, another form of art that is taken for granted in Curators Gallery is the art of coffee. Either coffee extracted by La Marzocco Strada or one of the neatly rowed Chemex, …

Obsessive Tim Williams’ Quest for a ‘Decent’ Coffee

A decade ago London’s perception of coffee as a ‘dark fluid’ was revolutionized with arrival of Aussies and their serious approach to our daily caffeine fix. A rapid growth of independent coffee shops in recent years has proved that Londoners have become pickier about their ‘cup of joe’. I am meeting Australian-born Tim Williams, a director of Workshop, who has been personally involved in reshaping London’s coffee culture, to discuss a current state and the future of coffee. Just before a midmorning coffee break only a few loners are sipping their espressos in Clerkenwell-based Workshop coffee house. Friendly-looking Tim offers me a cup of coffee and the smell of brew fills the air. “The coffee culture that we have is the result of number of influences but the Australians’ one is undeniable,” says Tim Williams, one of the most influential people in London coffee business. After getting experience in excellent coffee establishments in Melbourne, in 2006 Tim moved to London and joined Aussie-inspired Flat White team in Soho. Also known as a ‘director of coffee’, …

Let Coffee Speak to You

Talkhouse Coffee has attracted some serious coffee gents and ladies for a chat at the top of famous Portobello Road. Most of them happen to drink 5 oz latte or one of the elegantly served teas. The beans are sourced from James Gourmet, Workshop, Tate and Square Mile. After grinding, coffee is precisely measured on a scale (every gram matters!) This small detail reveals the level of attention and skill in the preparation of their espresso and Aeropress filter drinks. Lattes are exceptionally beautiful as barista is a prize-winner in the World Latte Art Championship.

Coffee For Passion in ‘The Borough Barista’

Nestling in an unexpected location behind Marble Arch station, The Borough Barista makes local hearts explode with happiness of artisan coffee. Fashionable chicks and elegant ladies, young lads and businessmen: all quietly sitting in front of the window and sipping locally roasted caffeinated goodness. It proves me again – coffee unites generations. Only good coffee, of course. … The Borough Barista on Seymour Street occupies the corner of red-brick building and beautifully stands out of the crowd with blueish gray painted walls and intriguing vivid yellow front doors. The sign board saying ‘Coffee For Passion’ lets the whole borough know that this is the place for a ‘decent’ cup of java. This corner coffee shop, surrounded by many bland cafe chains in Oxford Street and Edgware Road, stands proudly and boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce. As soon as you walk in, cheerful barista greets you and this small detail reveals that you are more than ‘just another customer waiting in a queue’. It is always a big pleasure to try locally roasted coffee beans. Without waiting any longer, I order …

When West Comes Calling

Finally, Aussies with their world-famous coffee obsession started taking over West London. Hidden under a concrete flyover and local offices, Antipode is a real ray of sunshine for locals in the coffee wasteland of Hammersmith. … If there is a lack of shops serving a ‘decent’ cup of coffee in your local area, then create one. Seems that the owner of Antipode exactly followed this rule, giving joy to locals by bringing third wave coffee into an area. Thanks to never resting Aussies spreading their serious approach to coffee, West Londoners are a little bit more relieved for having unrivalled cup of joe on their doorstep. Opened for less than a year, Antipode is a relatively new coffee shop with fresh ideas, how West London coffee culture should look like. A cafe has already regular clientele as well as a queue on peak hours full of caffeine hungry local office workers. Striking 80% of customers are Kiwis and Aussies missing their Antipodean atmosphere and getting a big piece of it next to Hammersmith station. On the counter they proudly serve …

Coffee with a Big Splash of Kindness

As I come in at 2 o’clock it starts to get busy for an afternoon coffee, I suppose. A lovely elderly couple enters the Antishop café in identical colourful clothes. Adel, the owner, greets them, gives a hug, and serves a croissant and a double espresso at the end. The couple is not too much talkative, but there is no need as honest smiles on their faces speak for themselves. Before leaving, a gentleman compliments Adel: “This is the best coffee ever”. Later the shop owner reveals that they have been coming to his café every day since it had been opened. Situated on the famous Brick Lane Road, The Antishop spreads anti-commercial love with its coffee and generosity.

Curiosity’s Day Planner: London

London is praised as the greatest city in the world. Stop here. Been there, done that, boring. If you are a keen world traveller, you probably think of London as a very ‘normal’ city with too many tourists and too many queues. However, London is so much more than that. Big Ben or Tower Bridge are not the things that make London special. Unfortunately, there is no single answer why this city is worth living/visiting, but The Curiosity has a possible solution of spending a great day in London.

Where Flowers Go Wild

It is hard to find anyone who do not adore fresh flowers. And it is even harder to find a human-being who will resist a great cup of coffee or tea. But let me tell you what is the most difficult – to find a good coffee shop in West. But here it is, Wildflower Cafe, which popped up in my eyes and painted my whole day in vivid purple.

Timberyard to work and relax

It rarely happens that your laptop get smashed to the wheel while cycling. Oh well, it happened to me while making my way to Camden. One of those ‘what if” situations became reality. What if you did not have a computer? Now I know the answer. At least for a while you will be checking your mail on the small screen of your smart phone. Anyway, you get to the point where your salary is one month away and there is a crucial need to use a computer. London is stuffed with internet cafes but somehow I don’t feel like sitting surrounded by 15 years-olds playing their internet games and the noise of Bangladeshi chatting (in East London most of internet cafes belong to them).

Fashion in Motion with Yamamoto

Colourful and sometimes outrageous Kansai Yamamoto’s collection used to amaze fashion lovers in 70s and 80s. HIs designs as well as shows always combine culture with fashion and entertainment. Most well-known costumes for David Bowie in 1973 and spectacular shows have included his name in one of the greatest and iconic contemporary designers list of that time. Kansai Yamamoto launched his first collection in London in 1971. Later on it was called as ‘The Show of the Year… a spectacular coup de theatre’ and Yamamoto has became famous with his avant-garde designs on international scale.