The Monocle Café

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Instax/ polaroid of the Monocle CafeI recently visited the Monocle Cafe, a small independent coffee shop just off Baker Street. You might recognise the name and branding from Monocle Magazine - this is their spin-off café, a four-minute walk from the nearby Monocle store. It's cozy, minimalist, and beautifully designed, with industrial lighting and Japanese-inspired oak furniture. Definitely a spot to check out if you're in the Sherlock Holmes area and needing a homely nook to grab a bite to eat and have a good chinwag, or - like the men sat at our neighbouring table - to actually make something of your life: 'Listen, this is how I do business', I overhear.

Instax/ polaroid of the Monocle Cafe The café offers a weird and wonderful selection of dishes: order Chicken Udon soup, a Beef or Shrimp Katsu sandwich, a Japanese or Scandinavian breakfast, Muesli, Taco Rice, Chicken Curry - the possibilities are endless! It is not cheap, but neither is anyone forcing you to down a home-brewed Mocha while chanting 'Chug, chug'.

 Under the recommendation of my friend Mingling, I ordered a Matcha Green Tea Hot Chocolate, creamy and topped with luminous-green whipped cream: nauseating in appearance but heavenly on the palette. I also devoured a grilled cheese. This was no run-of-the-mill grilled cheese, nor any bog-standard grilled cheese, but a great grilled cheese, nutty and tender, while crispy to the touch. Have I made myself clear?

We then went all-out and ordered a batch of French-come-Japanese macarons in a fusion of flavours: green tea, chocolate, vanilla, and black sesame. This, I think, is the joy of a good café. Four walls and a roof is what, but not all, they are: they can be portals to other places, other worlds, other cultures. Nestled in a corner with a coffee in hand, time becomes a vortex and the café a welcome escape from real-world stresses. When you find a space like this, you've found an office, a pit-stop, and a home from home. 

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