Posts from the ‘Places’ category

Dille & Kamille BrusselI am in Brussels for work (the day job…) As I was early for my meeting this morning I stepped by chance into Dille & Kamille in Rue Jan Stas, near Avenue Louise. Oh joy… This little paradise of utilitarian design is the kind of place where I could spend hours calculating how much I could fit into my hand luggage. In the end, I sadly had to abandon the moule à kouglof for a smaller wooden speculoos mould and yet another snowflake cookie cutter.
If you happen to be in Brussels (or another major Belgian or Dutch town) their shops are definitely worth a visit. If Belgium is not in your plans, have a look at their lovely recipes online.

CCCamden 1

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This Brazilian-English coffee shop is the perfect place to escape the Camden madness

A free piece of London advice for tourists: if you happen to wander around Camden and fancy a little perk, you may be tempted to stop at one of the chain cafes overlooking the Lock. Think again!

Sitting around a corner (hence the name) about three minutes walk from Camden Lock, the mood of The Corner One Coffee Shop could not be further away from the touristy hustle and bustle of the main road. With its exposed brick, sage green walls, peeled metal industrial tables and black woodwork, this is the kind of place where you would find bearded hipsters working on their Mac and cool local families (proof that there are indeed local residents among Camden’s ubiquitous tourists…)

The coffee here is so nice that it does not need any sugar, making The Corner One one of the best coffee places in Camden and fully deserving the brilliant reviews. You can accompany it with pancakes, muffins, salads on demands, or even Brazilian cheese bread.

Be careful though – this is a small place with few seats. And please, keep the secret!

MIL20 Oval Road, Camden
London NW1 7DJ

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Fabrique feature

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I have been completely obsessed with cardamom buns since being in Stockholm some weeks ago. I was staying just down the road from Melqvist Kaffebar and became addicted to their buns & coffee breakfast combination. After coming back, I had serious withdrawal symptoms. My friend Josh, a New Yorker turned Hackney dweller, told me that I could get a fix at Fabrique Bakery in Hoxton/Haggerston.

Good Josh, I owe you one.

The Fabrique in Haggerston is the first London branch of a Stockholm artisanal stone-oven bakery chain: this is bona fide, top-notch Scandi baking. Tucked underneath one of the Hoxton Arches, their laboratory-cum-shop makes and sells all sorts of sourdough (levain) bread, as well as croissants, muffins, cookies and other baked delicacies, including (and most importantly!) the original Swedish cardamom buns. All served with coffee by Stockholm roaster Johan & Nyström.

Forget about American buns: Swedish cardamom buns have a very special knot shape, similar to a bow tie, and are chewier (and tastier) than their Atlantic cousins. Getting your hands on one of Fabrique’s is worth begging and cheating, if necessary. If you really can’t, bake some at home.

MILFabrique Bakery
Arch 385, Geffrye Street,
Hackney, London
E2 8HZ
Hoxton overground station


Mellqvist Kaffebar 2

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Mellqvist Kaffebar is a small and cosy neighbourhood café on one of the main streets of Södermalm, Stockholm’s coolest district. It is a great place to indulge in the Swedish tradition of fika, taking a break to drink coffee and eat something sweet with a friend.

In addition to the coffee, which is smooth and mellow, people come here for the delicious cardamom buns (kardemummabullar in Swedish), a Swedish fika staple. The weekend brunch is also popular, but there is no real menu – don’t hesitate to ask at the counter.

Once you have grabbed your coffee and bun (and maybe one of the boiled eggs on the side) grab a stool – or better, an outside table if the weather is nice. Then open your copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: besides being one of Stieg Larsson’s favourite places (the writer used to work just above it and is said to have written several pages there) Mellqvist Kaffebar is the location of the book’s final scene.

Judging from the creative types and laptops around, it would appear the literary aura of this café continues.

Hornsgatan 78
118 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone:+46 76 875 29 92
Facebook: MellqvistKaffebar


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Bassanova Ramen NYC 1

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A small but airy basement with an open kitchen and a big communal table, Bassanova Ramen NYC stands out from the loud, bright neon signs of Chinatown with a simple and stylish décor of white raw distressed wood and silver metal chairs.

There are only five dishes on the evening menu of this cash-only Japanese eatery: three ramen soups and two “naked” ramen dishes, i.e. without soup. The choice really boils down to three, as it would be a shame to miss their lip-smacking special recipe pork broth. Regularly featured among the best ramen destinations in New York, including by the venerable New York Times, this unpretentious place does one thing and does it well.

We recommend the spicy ramen and green curry, with char-grilled pork, prawns, peppers and courgettes; or the less fiery pork ramen. Served in beautiful Japanese earthenware bowls, which add to the visual and textual experience, they are aromatic, rich and delicious. Definitely worth the trip.

Bassanova Ramen NYC
76 Mott St., Chinatown
New York City
Twitter: @bassaNYC
Facebook: bassanovanyc


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LM wall of wonders website 2 Loopy Mango is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful and unusual clothes, linens, blankets, antiques and lifestyle items in the heart of Soho, Manhattan. Its greatest feature, though, and the reason to make it a destination of any visit to New York, is a red brick wall stacked floor-to-ceiling with the chunkiest merino wool.

Big Loop Yarn is a 100% merino yarn, sourced, dyed and spun in the United States, especially developed for chunky knits. One skein (40 oz, approx. 120 yards or 110 meters) knits up in just 2-3 hours with size 50 (25 mm) needles and will make a 28” x 40” (71 cm x 101 cm) blanket. It comes in a variety of natural and vibrant colors, including ivory, oatmeal, pink, red and grey.

Russian Anna and Korean Waejong started Loopy Mango to develop their own yarn and hand knit products. The idea of the Big Loop Yarn came from their knitting classes: Anna and Waejong wanted to offer absolute beginners satisfying designs that could be completed in the time of a knitting class. Because the Big Loop Yarn and needles are oversize, beginners could better see and understand the stitches’ movements.

According to the lovely Loopy Mango people, even advanced knitters will knit faster and make fewer mistakes on the Big Loop Yarn than on smaller yarn and needles. Free patters are available on the Loopy Mango website and you can watch several video tutorials on YouTube.

Before starting planning how to fit all of this wonderful wool into your suitcase (I went for a pink Eternity Cowl scarf kit) have a look also at the rest of the Loopy Mango shop: among others, they stock delightful Pagewood Farm feathers and puffs yarn. Loopy Mango deliver worldwide and have stockists in several countries.

 Here is how I did with Loopy Mango’s Big Loop yarn and 25 mm circular needles!

LM logoLoopy Mango
78 Grand St.

New York, NY 10013

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Oh, how we wish that The Fields Beneath were already there when we were living just around the corner a couple of years ago!

Instead, Gavin and Sibylle opened this café, named after Gillian Tindall’s 1977 book, last October. They brew Butterworth & Son and New Town’s coffee, among others, and serve mum-made cakes, donoughts, soups and sandwiches. Jams by the London Borough of Jam and other delicacies are also available at the counter.

Tucked underneath one of the railway arches of Kentish Town West overground station, TFB caters mostly for commuters and takeaway-lovers. Don’t get rushed, though: the best way of visiting is on your way to Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath on a weekend morning, leaving your bike outside and taking five minutes to linger around and have a chat.


We had a seat at the communal table, upcycled from a wooden door, and sipped a refreshing iced latte and a slightly bitter espresso, offset by a truly scrumptious almond and date cake, hand-made by Gavin’s mum.

Although the space is tiny, the high ceiling and big steel-framed window make it light-filled and airy – cosy, rather than cramped. The decoration is spot on: we particularly loved the exposed brick wall and the Spanish tiles (sourced here).

In short: we wish this were our own kitchen. You will too.

MILThe Fields Beneath
52a Prince of Wales Road
NW5 3NL London

Kentish Town West overground or Chalk Farm underground (Northen Line)



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Cardigan Club Cafe The Cardigan Club Café is the latest of a string of new indie shops and cafés that have been appearing on Fortress Road, Tufnell Park’s main road, during the past few months.

Opened in July 2013, this Vietnamese-French café is a lovely, relaxed little place serving mainly street food. On the menu: the Good Morning, Vietnam Bap, a twist on the traditional British bacon sandwich, with marinated grilled pork and wholegrain mustard in an artisan seeded bap; and the Riviera Sun, a vermicelli noodle salad with your choice of seasoned chicken, garlic pork, peppered beef or tofu in a sweet lemon vinaigrette dressing with crushed peanuts and mint leaves.

We had a delicious Franco-Viet Baguette, with chicken and crispy veggies (fresh chillies, cucumber, coriander and pickled carrot) in a zingy sweet chilli sauce. Vegetarians can replace the chicken with tofu.

The shabby-chic décor of painted French furniture, vintage knits and cutting patterns pays homage to the first wave of Vietnamese workers in London, many of whom were seamsters. Indeed, the sofa and chairs on the mezzanine would be the perfect place for a knitting club (hint!).

Cardigan Club Café
133 Fortress Road
London NW5 2HR
T: 020 7267 8600

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