Eating breakfast out is one of those little luxuries that I rarely afford myself. Back when I lived in Rome last year, it was an almost daily occurrence. Every morning, I’d walk down my apartment building’s three flights of stairs, out into the busy piazza and straight to my favourite cafe, about 10 metres away from my front door. There, at the bar, I’d order ‘un cappuccio e un cornetto,’ a cappuccino and a filled croissant; sometimes with crema, sometimes with marmellatta, but most often with Nutella.
Standing at the bar, stirring and sipping my frothy coffee, I would watch the Italians go about their busy mornings, and attempt to understand what on earth they were saying. This little ritual of mine is probably one of the things I miss the most about my time in Rome…
… which is why, on Tuesday morning, I decided to treat myself.
Ginger & White, in Hampstead, north-west London, is a cute little cafe, serving good quality coffee and a wide variety of cakes and pastries, as well as some more filling sandwiches around lunchtime. It took me a while to get used to sharing the huge centre table with eight other strangers, but the feeling of community and the buzzing atmosphere that it brings is actually very clever.
I’ve had one bad experience there before, when I naively chose a croissant at 4 o’clock in the afternoon – it was stale as it had been out all day – but, as I was going with a coeliac friend, and the cafe boasts a large selection of gluten free treats, I decided to give it another go. And I’m very happy that I did! I opted for a cappuccino and a cheese and roasted tomato muffin, which was toasted and served with butter, whilst my friend, Lauren, had a slice of gluten-free coffee and walnut cake and a soya milk latte – she’s lactose intolerant too, bless her. I’ve never had a savoury muffin before, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. It was buttery and cheesy and absolutely delicious, and, whilst not the healthiest of breakfasts, it certainly kept me going until lunch. Lauren’s cake was well-balanced mix of light and dense, sweet and tangy, and you definitely wouldn’t know it was gluten free unless you were told.
Great breakfast all round, I’d say!
Atmosphere: 9 (as long as you don’t mind sharing a table with yummy mummy’s and Hampstead’s wealthy, fashionable crowd)
Price: Pretty pricey for a breakfast… but it’s Hampstead. Pastries range from £2-4 to eat in, whilst a bowl of porridge will set you back around £7