Coincidence and Cake

Hot Chocolate/ Chocolate Brownie

Sometimes life throws people together in unexpected ways. Or maybe the world’s just too small. Whatever your perspective, I recently stumbled into the path of someone I hadn’t seen in ten years.

At school, I was a language fanatic, if a poorly-skilled one. I studied French, German, Spanish and Latin in my lunchtimes for good measure (or good geekery). I did a French and German exchange. My French penfriend and I kept in touch. Last year, I went to her wedding.

My German penfriend and I got on very well. But I did a useless job at staying in touch, something which I always regretted but made no move to rectify.

Imagine my surprise when I found a Facebook request from her on a Sunday morning. Scanning her profile, I noticed the same university as mine listed. Then I found her message, which went along the lines of “OMG It’s been years! I found you through our accommodation Facebook page – we’re living in the same building!”

If not for my post on Facebook about wanting to dress up for the James Bond movie, we might have passed the whole year never having met (over 350 live in our accommodation block). As it happened, we met that same day in the stairwell.

Time for a catch-up. Time for cake. Time for hot chocolate.

I am on a quest to find the best hot chocolate in London. First stop…

 Shoreditch Grind

It opened in 2011 and has built itself a reputation as a trendy place to get coffee. It was certainly packed out on a Saturday afternoon and could really benefit from a larger seating area. The chairs aren’t comfy, but the bustling atmosphere meant we could happily sit there for 4.5 hours of updating each other on 10 years of life.

Organisationally, the café loses a few marks. When we ordered our cakes, we were told, “All the plates are dirty, so would you mind having a take-away box?” Coordinating the washing up is not rocket science and should be second nature if you work in a café!  Plus at 2pm on a Saturday  there was no sign of the extensive pastry and sandwich menu splashed tastily across their website, but rather there were a few sad-looking beef bagels. And nothing else savoury. As a result, my friend and I had cake for lunch.

Now, I must confess I’m not a big coffee drinker and I was on my hot chocolate mission. But my friend thoroughly enjoyed her cappuccino, which came complete with heart decoration and her mystery berry cake was pretty scrummy too (“It tastes better than it looks!”)

Berry cake and coffee

Cappuccino

The brownie was not as gooey as I normally like, but it was extremely dense and chocolate-y, so it got a stamp of approval. According to their website, it’s not just any brownie, it’s a Valrhona chocolate brownie. But as I’ve never had Valrhona chocolate, I can’t really validate these claims. (Anyone know anything about Valrhona chocolate?!)

As for the hot chocolate, it was weak, insipid and more milky than chocolatey. It wasn’t too sweet but it wasn’t memorable. And £2.50 for a small cup of poor quality contents?

Shoreditch Grind Hot Chocolate – 4/10.

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