Friday, 16 July 2010

A return ticket to the classroom

Hot news! I'm succumbed to pressure and am now on Twitter so if you follow me, I can let you know as soon as I've written a new post. Just click on the Twitter button at the top left.

Not only that but after a June of football and tennis, I've been out to a couple of very cool new places - one of which is open for a limited period only - so the blog takes a slightly different format this week.

1) Penny University, Redchurch Street, Shoreditch (nearest tube Liverpool Street

Apparently Penny University is a term originating from the eighteenth century coffeehouses in London, England. Instead of paying for drinks, people were charged a penny to enter a coffee house. Once inside, the patron had access to coffee, the company of others, various discussions, pamphlets, bulletins, newspapers, and the latest news and gossip. So everyone frequented them and had intellectual conversation.

Spending a penny at Penny University in Shoreditch doesn't get you very far (don't try it!) and it's not a big place either which makes it very special. No sugar, no milk, no espresso, no latte - just pure filter coffee and just three varieties (matched to William Curley chocolates if you prefer).

If you're lucky, Gwillym Davies (2009 World Barista Champion) will impart some of his extensive and fascinating coffee knowledge to you whilst he prepares the best coffee ever from something that you would normally expect to find in a chemistry lab.
If you're really lucky, you might get James Hoffmann (2010 World Barista Champion and the man behind Square Mile Coffee).

Things you should know!

- Three beautiful single estate coffees on the menu originating from Kenya, Ethiopia and Colombia costing from £3 to £4 per cup.
- Beans ground to order using a very special grinder that varies the grind quality (apparently one of the most important variables in coffee).
- A state of the art water boiler and three very cool preparation vessels.

Yes it sounds very nerdy but actually it's not - it's an enlightening and enjoyable way to drink coffee that everyone should try. It's only open until 31 July so hurry up and go!

Penny University on Urbanspoon

2) Union Market, Fulham Broadway (Fulham Broadway tube)

Someone has done a stunning job of converting the old Fulham Broadway ticket hall into a food market. A beautiful space that has maintained some of the quirkiness of the old station with ticket desks and signage clearly visible. Even the old ticket office has been converted into a kitchen.

It's all about traceability, sustainability, seasonal and local. A farmers market that's open daily from 8am until 8pm (but you can get an early morning tea or coffee from 7am). From fruit and veg to wine and cider to cheese, charcuterie, bakery and general provisions, you can get everything here, even organic cola bottle gums. In addition, there's a [very] small tapas area and a few tables for something more substantial.

It's a warm and welcoming place to shop and the staff were very helpful and friendly. It's not cheap but the Fulham mummies will love it and I wish it all the best.

Union Market on Urbanspoon

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