This is a post I wrote last January but is not showing on my blog so I’m reposting it after being asked for tips on the best cafes in West London. The day I wrote it was officially the gloomiest day of the year…
And sure enough, here in West London at least the sky is grey and overcast, it’s been drizzling since morning and I have back ache ( Ok, so that’s not officially a factor but I do, something to do with being so lazy I don’t sit on my chair proprly before tapping away at my computer for hours and so I get all twisted and knotty)
Anyway it seems the perfect opportunity to share with you the best places for Hot Chocolate – and before my smart arsed OH chips in again these are in London, me being in Notting Hill and all – and no the one on the Rue de Tivoli cannot be included – not least because I am definitely not the woman he took there!) In case it’s escaped your notice, hot chocolate is also the thing that cheers Dora up on a Chilly Day. So with that endorsement – down to business.
OK so it’s a trek into London and you can’t book for afternoon tea and it tends to be crowded – but if you ARE nearby or even there being treated to breakfast, lunch or dinner, it would be a crime not to try it.
My second favourite is the Bicerin at Carluccio’s a traditional hot chocolate from Turin. It comes in three small jugs of expresso, Florentine drinking chocolate ( Think thick chocolate sauce) and cream and you mix it to taste. Personally I usually leave the cream out altogether as it is SO rich, but however you take it, it is really delicious.
Hotel Chocolat would be my third choice since I discovered their Dark Mocha – combined with the fact, in High Street Kensington at least, they have comfy leather sofas and it’s a lot less crowded than your average coffee chain. As if this were not temptation enough, they usually have trays of tempting little chocolates for you to taste. The staff are lovely and always give the kids a taste too, which takes the pressure off when your perfect children are about to suck on the wrapper of a chocolate lolly so that you have to buy it!
These three places I have chosen purely for the standard of the drinking chocolate.
But I’m also recommending Maison Bertaux in Greek Street because, while the hot chocolate is not as spectacular as my top three choices, the pastries are – and the decor is legendary. So if you are in Soho and trying to beat the January blues it will certainly do the trick.
And finally if you are in Notting Hill and want to avoid the coffee chains try Charlie’s cafe on Portobello. Again the chocolate is good, but the added benefits are it’s spacious, you can get your buggy round the tables and chairs and it’s frequented by ordinary locals (and of course some tourists at the weekend) – but the Supermodels and Superrich will be down on Westbourne Grove so you don’t need to bring your designer shades to fit in. If chocolate is your thing, they do a chocolate biscuit cake that is so rich I eat it with a tea- spoon over the space of about an hour.
Disclaimer: To date none of these establishments has given me a free hot chocolate , or anything else. They are simply places that, in my opinion, get it right.