While I’m on the subject of coffee, Steven and I found ourselves in the unusual position of having a free weekday afternoon recently and decided to spend it in town with three of our favourite things: books, coffee and cake so I thought it might be nice to share some of our recommendations for the best places to find these in central London.
London Review Bookshop: A brilliant bookshop with an amazingly wide range for the size of the shop. The London Review of Books is a fortnightly literary periodical, similar in format to the great 19th century periodicals, so the books are more likely to be sporting stickers saying “Radio 4’s Book of the Week” than “Richard and Judy’s Bookclub”. Bury Place, just round the corner from the British Museum.
Foyles: Europe’s largest bookshop (in terms of number of books stocked) has been on Charing Cross Road for over 100 years. Huge food/drink and poetry sections. They also have a secondhand/antiquarian department.
Quinto: the London outpost of the Hay Cinema Bookshop. One of the best secondhand bookshops in London. Charing Cross Road.
Any Amount of Books: Another excellent secondhand bookshop, although its prices tend to be higher than Quinto. Charing Cross Road.
Forbidden Planet: A must for sci-fi fans. As well as books, they also stock DVDs, games, action figures, t-shirts and much, much more. The only bookshop in London (that I know of) with a “Paranormal Romance” section. Shaftesbury Avenue.
Gosh! comics: A new discovery for us but one of the best comic shops we know of. Great range of stock from Disney and Tintin through to DC Comics, Dark Horse and many, many more.
Caffe Vergnano 1882: Not much seating but the coffee is great. Charing Cross Road.
Monmouth Coffee Company: Best coffee in London, according to Steven. Covent Garden & Borough Market.
The cafe at London Review Bookshop: Wonderful cupcakes and larger slices of cake. I highly recommend the Lemon Merinuge Cupcakes if they’re available; they were better than many full-size lemon meringue pies I’ve had. Tip – If you like your coffee milky but still tasting of coffee, get a double shot here.
Konditor and Cook: Brilliant cakes, biscuits, gateaux but their hot food is just as good at lunchtimes. Not all of the branches have seating; the Curzon Soho and Gherkin branches are two that I know that definitely do.