And that's how I ended up making a 35 minute journey to Melrose & Morgan near Primrose Hill.
Melrose & Morgan is one of the coffee houses featured in Time Out's recently updated feature on where to drink coffee in London. It's also one of the few I hadn't yet tried, and adventurous creature that I am, I thought, "Why not?"
A beautiful day indeed
The only problem, as it turned out, is that Melrose & Morgan is located between Camden Town and Chalk Farm. In other words, it's near enough that I wouldn't be daunted by the thought of having to walk between ten and 15 minutes from either station, but not near enough for it to be incredibly convenient. Still, the walk was well worth it, maybe more so for me, given that this was my second visit to Primrose Hill, and my first during the day.M&M is both a cafe and a deli, with beautiful pastries, salads and sandwiches all laid out a wooden table in the centre of the cafe. They also sell jams, honeys, cheeses and Monmouth coffee, all of which are laid out on shelves adorning the wall. Now, if you've ever been to The Albion Cafe in Shoreditch, you'll probably be struck by how similar the layout is, right down to the display of bread and the unfinished wooden furniture. That's exactly what I thought when I first walked in, thinking I'd somehow managed to teleport myself to East London without realising it.
There was one big difference between the Albion and M&M though; the latter didn't have too mnay places to sit. It wasn't a problem at 4.15 pm, but I can imagine it being packed during the lunch-time rush. There were around eight stools by the wooden counter along the glass facing Gloucester Avenue, something I was a little worried about as I had opted for a short cheerleader style outfit that day. Still, I managed to get myself up and perch myself comfortably without flashing anyone (I hope) and proceeded to order a chocolate & raspberry tart (£2.95) and a skinny cappuccino (£2) from the friendly chef.
The chocolate & raspberry tart came almost immediately, as expected, and I did my best not to eat any part of it while waiting for my coffee to be prepared. I couldn't resist, however, and I took one small bite and was rewarded by dark chocolate-y goodness nicely complemented by a slightly tart berry taste.Yummy
The coffee was rather mild and smooth, which meant it was perfect for a lazy Saturday. If I had been in the office, however, I'd probaby prefer it stronger, but no quibbles from this so-called connoisseur was in a very lazy mood. My only quibble is that it came in a paper cup even though I was clearly eating in. I guess it's convenient because if I'd decided to go elsewhere, I could bring my drink with me, but I do prefer to drink out of less temporary devices when I'm staying in one place for a relatively long time.
Coffee o'clock (because this reminds me of a sun dial for some reason)
In spite of the few seats in the place, I managed to read comfortably for about half an hour or so without being disturbed, not even by staff clearing my dishes, something I'm not fussed about, as it tends to make me feel a little harried. During that 30 minutes, a couple and their son came in and chatted with one of the chefs or managers about their visit to the zoo. Clearly, they were regulars and it's always good to know a place has a bit of a neighbourly feel.
As I got up to pay, the same chef I'd ordered from asked if I was just visiting or living in London. The latter, I replied, but I'm not from this area. With a friendly smile, she said I should come a little earlier next time, and grab some food and go to the hill for a picnic. I'll do that, I said, and the next time, with a friend!
Melrose & Morgan
42 Gloucester Avenue
London NW1 8JD
Monday to Friday, 8am - 7pm
Saturday, 8am - 6pm
Sunday, 9am - 5pm