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Cafe London

London is such an immense and diverse city that it may appear bewildering to a newcomer. Or a tourist. Or anyone visiting, who may not understand its complexity and the different offerings available in Bloomsbury or Blackfriars or Bermondsey, Knightsbridge or Notting Hill, Shoreditch or Soho. 

This book deals with the most important meals of the day: brunch, lunch, coffee and afternoon tea, and all of these are best taken in a cafe. Or something similar.

This is basically an insider's guide for outsiders. Editor Zena Alkayat has brought together reviews from a number of knowledgeable locals who have sipped and slurped and crunched their way around 100 or so of the very best of London's cafes, in every region and catering for every need.

So if you are pining for an Antipodean-style brunch of poached eggs and smashed avocado, head for Lantana in East Central. Need coffee roasted under your nose (well, almost)? There's Counter Cafe in a canalside warehouse. You may lunch in stylish Monacle in Marylebone, take tea at pink and chintzy Bake-a-Boo in West Hampstead, go wacky at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, or soak up some sun, lakeside, as you sip at the Pavilion in Victoria Park.

Making a decision may be difficult, but you can be sure that if you tap the details of a few of these into your phone next time you visit, you'll have something very special to remember. 

Cafe London, edited by Zena Alkayat, published by Allen & Unwin, 2016, softcover, rrp A$19.99.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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