It might just be the first day of spring. I’m sat on the edge of a skate park, under the awning of a renovated outbuilding, sipping an espresso w 2.5 milk. I couldn’t feel cooler and at the same time so very uncool. You see I’m not playing it very cool at all. In I trot, camera in hand, snapping away like some kind of super fan.

Fields Cafe

Fields is the second outpost from the brains behind Balham’s incredibly popular M1lk and of all the coffee spots I’ve tried in London to date, this is the most (how best to put this?) ‘back to basics’. The space is so uncontrived it feels almost misplaced out here in South London, I mean I’m really not sure we’re cool enough for this sort of thing. The cheaper than cheap Ikea stools, school canteen style tables, rusty-poled corrugated plastic awning, it’s bloody brilliant.

What’s more, the denim-clad barista looks like he’s just skated in off the skate park. He charmingly entertained my incessant snapping and if like me you’ve only just got to grips with the difference between a Piccolo, Cortado and Flat white, he’ll politely explain the menu as you won’t find any of them here. My espresso w 2.5 milk (essentially a Piccolo) is strong, it’s punchy and along with this newly found gem and the welcome return of spring, it’s making me feel a little high on life.

Fields CafeFields Cafe Fields Cafe

And don’t be fooled by the appearance of the place, the food here is taken just as seriously as the coffee. Their sourdough is from Brixton, their salmon from Hansen & Lyderson and their eggs come courtesy of the regal Clarence Court. On this occasion I’m just drinking, but if I come back…correction, when I come back, it’ll be for the Sourdough Croque Madame with Gloucester old spot ham, emmental and smoked egg yolk. Alongside a glass of organic wine, we are in South London after all.

Always one for details take note:

  • Open: Fri – Sun 9am – 5pm. Full opening for spring/summer 2015 is just around the corner
  • Prices ranges from £2.8 for sourdough toast, £5.5 for poached eggs on sourdough, and £9.0 for their take on Eggs Royale
  • Their beans are from Workshop Coffee Co. Big tick
  • They serve natural wine by the glass for £5.0. Yes please!
  • Keep up to date with opening hours @fieldscafe
  • Find out more at fieldscafe.com // Clapham Common SW4

I had every intention today of writing another post, but after 5 minutes in this place I had to put pen to paper and capture the moment straight off.

London is spoilt for great coffee spots. Some are sleek, some industrial. Some channel the whole sunny Californian vibe, and many bring the Aussie style swagger that’s made an insurmountable mark on the scene in the last couple of years.

Brickwood by comparison, well it’s just minding it’s own business and quietly and confidently digging its own vibe. Standing proud with a fluro green facade on the corner of Clapham Common, it’s quite impossible to stride on by.

Brickwood Coffee & Bread

I arrived to the warmest welcome and was pleasantly invited to take a seat where someone would be over to take my order. Having settled on a cosy table at the back, I felt the sweet smile on my face grow as the full charm of the place swept over me. Exposed brick walls, oak topped tables with haphazard painted table numbers, and rows and rows of checkered lid jars, filled full with conserves and yoghurts. I relaxed into the comfy booth and let track after track of the best playlist I’d heard in a really, really long time lift my soul.

Brickwood Coffee & Bread Brickwood Coffee & Bread

Whilst the menu broadly conforms to type, it manages to avoid the cookie cutter line up that adorns most brunch menus in London these days. It’s evident instead that each dish has been independently considered to reflect Brickwood’s style and charm. Naturally I wanted it all and having already decided I’d be back next week, I opted for the grilled banana bread with espresso butter, and a long black to drink.

Now what arrived on my table shortly after was not a slice of banana bread, oh no. What arrived was a brick of banana bread. We’re talking an inch and a half, chargrilled, golden and nutty, complete with a serving of coffee-coloured espresso butter on the side. It was hands down, without a shadow of doubt, I swear to god, the best slice of banana bread I have ever eaten. There wasn’t a crumb left in sight, even the ones which found their way into my lap or landed on top of my keyboard were shamelessly rescued.

Banana Bread Banana Bread

Now I could go on, but I really should play it cool because I need to show face again there next Friday. Ain’t nothing coming between me and one of their classic ham with mature cheddar cheese and truffled mustard hot grilled toasties. Nah uh.

Always one for details, take note:

  • Open daily: Mon -Fri, 7am – 6pm, Sat-Sun, 9am – 6pm
  • The banana bread is £4, the toasties are around £5 and their infamous smashed avocado with chorizo and poached eggs is £9.25
  • They have free wifi – just ask for the code
  • They have loads of seating downstairs if you’re looking to set up camp and work from home
  • Hot off the Instagram press, rumour has it they’re opening a second site in Balham this April
  • Find out more at brickwoodlondon.com // Clapham Common SW4

Shoreditch Grind is one of those places that effortlessly bridges day to night and work to pleasure with one seamless flick of a switch. Down go the lights, up goes the volume and in buzz a swarm of creative types from the barrage of agencies and start-ups that line Silicon roundabout.

Shoreditch Grind

On first thought you’d think the location a bit…well odd. Slap bang on the Old Street interchange is hardly an idyllic spot for coffee, but then Shoreditch Grind isn’t the sort of place you visit for a relaxing coffee. Instead, feeding off its noisy neighbourhood it provides a buzzing and eclectic space in which to work, meet and play. It’s not a spot to shelter from the surroundings, on the contrary, it’s a place to feel inspired by them.

The area surrounding Shoreditch Grind, known colloquially as Tech City, is the third largest technology start-up cluster in the world after San Fran and NYC. That said, if you’re hankering for a bit of a buzz and a dose of entrepreneurial spirit, a few hours ‘working’ here will definitely leave you dreaming big and flying high.

Shoreditch Grind Shoreditch Grind

When it comes to coffee they take matters into their own hands using their very own Grind & Co. House Espresso blend which is roasted daily and matured on site until its ready to roll. They’re just as serious about great cocktails too, with a comprehensive menu which includes four knock your socks off espresso-based martinis. Caffeine aside, if things start feeling just a little too jittery, you can dip into their evening menu of classic cocktails, wines and craft beers with a selection of cured meats and cheeses.

Always one for details, take note:

  • They’re open daily: Mon – Thurs, 7am-11pm, Fri – Sat, 7pm-1am, Sun 9am-7pm
  • Coffees are around £2-3, all cocktails £8, and wines start from £4.5
  • Ask for a loyalty scheme Black Card and every 10th coffee or cocktail is on the house!
  • Don’t miss their other sites: Holborn Grind, Soho Grind, London Grind
  • And follow them on instagram @shoreditchgrind
  • Find out more at shoreditchgrind.com // 213 Old Street, EC1V

London was chipper today, bright, happy and spring like. I finished up my shift at St Clements, stepped out into the afternoon sun and headed down the New Kings Road with a spring in my step to Little H. I’m a big advocate of older sis Hally’s whose brunches are some of the best in the area, and after a slightly indulgent Saturday I was thirsty for one of Little H’s famed juices and a fresh, vibrant pick me up.

Little H

Where big sister Hally’s is bustling, busy and full of chatter, Little H is a calming oasis. The interior decor is as cool as a cucumber, think bar tables, minty green stools, drop lighting and neon signs. Everything about the place blends together beautifully to create a wonderful serene space from which to watch the locals of Parsons Green amble about their business.

The menu is made up of guilt-free juices, blended smoothies and creative, wholesome salads. And fear not, there’s a tempting display of cakes atop the counter too, the perfect reward for such a healthy juice choice.

Little H Little HLittle HLittle H Little H

Little H and Hally’s are two very different entities, both with a distinct vibe and menu to offer the hungry crowds of Sw6. Face to face along the New Kings Road it’s clear to me these two siblings are going to get along just fine.

Little H, 267 New Kings Road, London, SW6 4RB
www.littlehlondon.com

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