Review: Verde & Co, Spitalfields AKA That Famous Hot Chocolate Place

The most expensive hot chocolate in London <3

The most expensive hot chocolate in London ❤

Just on Brushfield Street, which runs along the south side of Spitalfields market, is an old-fashioned shop with a wooden front, hanging wicker baskets, and a small bench where weary shoppers can rest themselves… and recharge their batteries with some rather tasty things.

Verde & Co

Verde & Co

Verde & Co is somewhat legendary in London for serving the priciest hot chocolate around. Whilst the store’s quaint charm definitely warrants a perusal,  its fame stems from the cocoa beverage priced at a hefty £5.50 a cup . The hot chocolate is made from Pierre Marcolini chocolate, a luxurious offering from Belgium.

It just so happened that I lived about 30 seconds walk from this store. And it just so happened that my friend, who was recuperating after a stint in hospital, required some quick breakfast magic. The plan was hatched, but the quest short; in under 2 minutes, we were standing outside, peering through the windows.

Verde and Co is deceptive. From the outside, it always looks shut. It’s hard to see through the windows and no light seems to emanate. Yet the inside, despite being small, is bright and not nearly as cramped as this Aladdin’s cave should be.





To say the inside is well-stocked with goodies would be an understatement (scroll down for more pics). The shelves are laden with jams, confectionery, sweets, old-fashioned teapots and beautiful cakes. It is almost too much to take in and requires a leisurely browse – if you can contain your excitement and refrain from trying to examine everything at once.

My friend and I clumsily squeezed ourselves onto tall seats at a wooden counter. In fact, a less generous but more accurate description would be that we groaned, creaked, shuffled and heaved ourselves onto the stalls in a most unladylike fashion. She had an excuse from recent hospitalisation; I was just being… Phoebe. The man behind the counter observed us with concern and bemusement.

“Are you all right?” the man asked.

My friend and I looked at each other and doubled over in fits of manic laughter. We threatened to fall back off the chairs again.

“We’re probably not the best people to ask…”

Bewildered, the man took our orders, which, unsurprisingly, featured two hot chocolates.

The hot chocolate comes in two sizes, which are both priced at £5.50. There is a ‘small’, which is very thick and gives a very intense chocolate flavour, or a ‘large’, which has more milk in it and is slightly milder as a result.

I can verify that both are extremely chocolatey, but if you’re a passionate chocolate fiend such as myself, you should be drinking your chocolate neat 😉

The 'longer' hot chocolate with artful croissant in the background...

The ‘longer’ hot chocolate with artful croissant in the background…

It may have been breakfast but I was not going to be deterred from ordering something to eat. Whilst my friend worked her way through a lovely, light croissant, I ordered a suckling pig and balsamic onion sandwich (medium £6.25) because I can eat absolutely anything in the morning.

I couldn’t verify just how much ‘suckling’ this pig had had, but the sandwich was served on beautifully fresh bread and had that homemade taste that…well, that you really only get at home. So comforting.

Gimme a suckling pig sandwich in the morning!

Gimme a suckling pig sandwich in the morning!

We sat on the bench outside in a cocoa coma, and watched shoppers dip in and out of Spitalfields market. A very good breakfast indeed, and definitely worth splashing out on.

Verde & Co 4.5/5 – Charming, quaint and serving up a pricey, but smooth, rich and delicious hot chocolate.

Where: 40 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6AG
When: Mon – Thurs 9am – 9pm; Friday 8am – 6pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 7pm.







The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields (revisited)

Boston beans

Boston beans

For the uninitiated, The Breakfast Club is a trendy breakfast chain, which will not only sort you out with good and proper breakfast/brunch items until 5pm, but it will also fix you up with cocktails and drinks when it gets too late for bacon and eggs (although, in my humble opinion, it is never too late for bacon and eggs).

I previously enjoyed their Full Monty, but this post is a shout out for their Boston Beans (£8.30). These are some deliciously smoky pulled pork and beans with a mild sweetness, topped with a fried egg and served with eggs breads. It’s a gloriously rich, gooey and filling breakfast. Convince any friends with small appetites to order this, and then take home their leftovers for breakfast the next day. #winning

Alternatively, eat everyone’s breakfast at once.

Leftovers? Pfft. I don't understand the meaning of that word!

Leftovers? Pfft. I don’t understand the meaning of that word!

Website: (check this out for an awesome, retro gaming theme. Super Mario land anyone?)
Where: Angel, Hoxton, Spitalfields, Soho, Battersea Rise
When: Various. See website.

Review: The Pavilion Café, Victoria Park

Breakfast with a view

Breakfast with a view

What is better than a hearty, good quality brunch?

One with gorgeous view and a whole host of wildlife.

And when I say wildlife, I mean all the animals from moorhens and Canadian geese to the denim-fur clad hipsters and their prized petits pooches. This is Victoria Park; this is the epitome of gentrification. 

The Pavilion Café on the edge of the lake has nestled right in on the edge of the lake. And it’s perfect for a glorious weekend brunch.

Admire the hipsters whilst sipping a very fresh apple and beetroot juice.

Apple and beetroot juice, modelled by two geese

Apple and beetroot juice, modelled by two geese

Reminisce over last night’s party with Monmouth coffee cappuccino.

Monmouth coffee

Pretty cappuccino

And let’s not forget the  sausage and bacon sourced from the outstanding Ginger Pig butchers. In fact, I could never forget Ginger Pig bacon. I think I would go crazy become even crazier if I were told I could never eat it again (vegetarians: beware – it will turn you).

The Full English - isn't it beautiful?

The Full English – isn’t it beautiful?

The Full English (~£9?) is great. Everything is cooked to perfection. The sourdough toast is moreish and not too dry. The only slightly strange item is the home-made beans, which contain fennel and are just plain peculiar.  

Veggies – there are terats for you too. The veggie breakfast comes with spinach and halloumi as well as all the usual items.

The veggie breakfast

The Veggie Breakfast

 The Pavilion Café 4/5 – Breakfast, brunch, lunch? It doesn’t matter. Get your Full English here and enjoy the view.

Where: Victoria Park, Crown Gate West, E9 7DE.
When: Summer – Mon 8am – 4pm, Tues – Sun 8am – 8pm; Winter – daily 8am-4pm

Review: The Modern Pantry

Chilli and curry leaf waffles with smoked bacon and maple syrup

Chilli and curry leaf waffles with smoked bacon and maple syrup

Stop! Alert! Some seriously good brunch has been discovered.

I visited The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell back in March but somehow missed reporting just what a charming place it is.

Think of light, airy rooms with high ceilings and large windows. Think of a simple yet stylish interior in grey and white.

Think of a brunch menu that includes BEEF RENDANG and CURRY LEAF WAFFLES and almost no traditional British fare that the aesthetics imply, and that one would expect on a brunch menu.

For lovers of bacon and eggs, fear not – these may be obtained. However, there are some adventurous items on this menu that are bound to please.

Rendang on toast with crispy quail's egg

Rendang on toast with crispy quail’s egg

I took the Rendang Mince on Toast with a Crispy Quail’s Egg (~£9?).  Rendang is a beef curry that originate from Indonesia but is popular across other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillippines. It uses coconut milk and a mix of spices such as ginger, turmeric and lemongrass.

And this beef rendang was delicious. It had a confident amount of spice and flavours that thoroughly warmed the palate. It vanished from my plate all too quickly, and sadly seems to have vanished off their brunch menu.

When I visit next time – for there will be a next time – I plan to tuck into Grilled Cornbread with Chorizo, a Fried Egg, Sweetcorn, Avocado & Red Pepper Salsa (£8.80), which one of my co-diners was very pleased with.

Chorizo and cornbread

Chorizo and cornbread

There are also Sweetcorn, Feta, Green Chilli & Curry Leaf Waffles with Smoked Streaky Bacon and Maple Syrup (£8.80). From what I sampled, the waffles seemed a little mild but I definitely need to order the whole dish to confirm this properly.

If you happen to be  around Clerkenwell at lunch or dinner time, The Modern Pantry also offer a mouthwatering All Day Menu.

… So please expect further investigation upcoming on the blog.

The Modern Pantry 4/5 – Welcoming atmosphere and an interesting brunch menu. 

Where: 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JJ

Monday: 8am – 11am & 12pm – 10pm
Tuesday to Friday: 8am – 11am & 12pm – 10.30pm
Saturday: 9am – 4pm & 6pm – 10.30pm
Sunday: 10am – 4pm & 6pm – 10pm
Monday: 12pm – 3pm
Tuesday to Friday: 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10:30pm
Saturday: 11am – 4pm & 6pm – 10:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 4pm

Review: Bageriet, Covent Garden

Cinnamon buns

Scandinavian countries are perhaps more famous for design rather than their food. Yet this might be changing, perhaps led by Noma, a two Michelin-star restaurant in Denmark, consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world. It’s reputation certainly goes some way to debunking notions of Scandinavian cuisine as purely meatballs and pickled herrings.

However, much as I would like to claim to weekly dine in Michelin-star places, reality is somewhat different. So for a more accessible avenue into tasty Scandinavian treats, it’s worth seeking out a bakery. I’d previously sought out semlor (Swedish Easter buns) and had been impressed by Daniel Karlsson who ran an order-only bakery, Bageriet.

Very fortuitously, Daniel has decided to expand his business and has opened Bageriet as a little café in Covent Garden, serving flat bread sandwiches and all kinds of sweet things.

The cakes are just beautiful and there is a lot of choice. As well as the classic cinnamon buns, highly recommended are the vanilla buns/ vaniljbulle as they balance cardamom perfectly with the creamy filling.

Vanilla buns

Vanilla buns

So creamy!

So creamy!

We found the custard bun was way too skimpy on the filling, but the espresso cake was fabulous – it was like a firmer version of tiramisu.

Custard bun - bit sparse on the filling

Custard bun – bit sparse on the filling

Espresso cake - tiramisu has evolved

Espresso cake – tiramisu has evolved!

There are a couple of small tables inside and one tiny table outside. Rose Street is fairly quiet so it’s a good escape from what can be a hectically busy area. At £2.45 for a cinnamon bun to eat in, prices are edging towards Scandinavian levels but we can’t fault the quality. So venture forth, go Swedish, and get some attractive cakes to adorn that Ikea coffee table 😉

24 Rose Street, WC2E 9EA
When: Monday – Friday 9am-7pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday – closed.








Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns

Review: Yalla Yalla, Soho

Peeking at the menus

Peeking at the menus

Street food – it’s all the rage. Which is an invitation for all kinds of foreign dishes to hit London as, let’s face it, Britain doesn’t have a street food culture. One might invoke our national obsession with the weather as an explanation for this. One might also invoke the weather as the reason to why a lot of this foreign “street food” is being sold in cafés rather than on the streets.

Yalla Yalla (1 Green’s Court, Soho) is a tiny little café that serves up Beirut “street” food where squeezing around the wooden tables is an achievement in itself. One wall is lined with cushion-filled bench and small stools provide seating for the people opposite. Be prepared to be cosy.

They serve a whole range of tasty Lebanese dishes, including casseroles, grills and meat skewers, along with mezze and wraps. We sampled the following:

Halloum Meshoue

Halloum Meshoue

Halloum Meshoue – grilled halloumi cheese with tomatoes, black olives, fresh mint and olive oil. The mint provided a refreshing contrast to the saltiness of the halloumi. And it’s hard to go wrong  with halloumi. Mmm.

Makale Samak

Makale Samak

Makale Samak – deep fried calamari, white bait and tiger prawns with spring onions, crispy aubergine and chilli minted greek yoghurt. The batter was fairly light, crisp and well-seasoned. Overall, it was pleasant but not outstanding.

AND NOW….the WRAPS! (Can you tell that I enjoyed them?)

Lamb Shawarma

Lamb Shawarma

I took the Lamb Shawarma (£4.50) – slices of marinated lamb, sumac onion, pickled turnips, tomato and tahini sauce. It was so succulent and flavourful. And at a bargain £4.50, I thought life couldn’t get any better.

Then I attacked my sister’s Chicken Shawarma (£4.50) and realised that… yes, life could get better. The wrap was full of a fantastic garlic sauce that basically meant I had to eat half her wrap. I’ve been wistfully thinking about this chicken shawarma ever since. Highly recommended.

Yalla Yalla 4/5 – Cute and cosy café with reasonably-priced and very tasty food. It’s a winner. 

12 Winsley Street, W1W 8HQ; 1 Green’s Court, W1F 0HA; Pop-up branch, 186 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU
When: Various, see website here.

Review: Damson & Co, Soho

Poached eggs with smoked salmon (£9.50)

Poached eggs with smoked salmon (£9.50)

Damson & Co represent a bit of a medley. Self-described on Twitter as a ‘British Deli & Coffee Shop’, their prized offerings consist of ‘London Roast Coffee & Cornish Tea, English Wine, British Charcuterie & Cheese. Ceviche and Billingsgate Oysters.’

Now, if that’s not chic and trendy, then I don’t know what is.

My friends and I popped along for their soft opening offer  to see what delicious things we might sample. (How could we resist 50% off food and a free drink?)

Damson & Co do a variety of freshly pressed fruit juices (£4.00), which they can mix to your tastes in a rather cute bottle. I took an Apple & Pear combo, which was delightfully refreshing.

Apple and Pear Juice (£4.00)

Apple and Pear Juice (£4.00)

As it was lunchtime, there was a limited day time menu of soups, eggs, sandwiches or salads. 

Poached eggs with Dukeshill Shropshire Ham (£9.00)

Poached eggs with Dukeshill Shropshire Ham (£9.00)

I chose the Poached Eggs with Dukeshill Shropshire Black Ham (£9.00) on an English muffin. This came with a hollandaise-style sauce, which was light, tasty and not too rich. The ham was fantastic – it had such a deep flavour. However, they overcooked one egg, which was a little disappointing. I insist on perfectly cooked eggs and, at these kinds of prices, I think everyone should.



Damson & Co also had a really tantalising array of sandwiches set out on the counter top. I took away a beef and pickles sandwich (£7.00), which sadly wasn’t as good as it looked – a little dry and way too vinegary.

Salt beef and pickles (£7.00)

Salt beef and pickles (£7.00)

Sandwich aside, the juice and eggs were enjoyable. But £12 for an extremely light lunch?! Guess this is what being trendy in London costs. There definitely wasn’t enough wow-factor for me, so I’ll have to settle for less chic establishments. 

21 Brewer Street, Soho, London
When: ??? Website is not working yet. Best to contact them via Twitter: @DamsonAndCo