26 GRAINS is TB_HQ’s current favourite cookbook and also a regular lunch/coffee spot when passing through Neal’s Yard, so this issue we’re delighted to have the insights of our favourite author, cook and café proprietor, the lovely ALEX HELY-HUTCHINSON.
A quick introduction…
I’m Alex, founder of 26 Grains in Covent Garden’s Neal’s Yard. We started small but think big and we take breakfast and lunch as seriously as evening service. Food, coffee, cakes, we’ve got everything you could possibly want to eat!
Favourite watering hole?
10 Cases on Endell Street. There’s nothing better than when the sun shines and you’ve grabbed yourself a seat outside, on the back streets of central London.
Favourite place for everyday eats?
Duck Soup on Dean Street in Soho, they’ve always got daily specials, delicious wines and soft drinks that you can happily enjoy with a group or solo.
Favourite place to eat for a treat?
La Famiglia, just off the Kings Road at World’s End, with my whole family.
26 Grains of course! No, but seriously, our head barista is a wizard and the seasonal roasts we have on with Assembly Coffee are quite sensational. Other than that, Lyle’s in Shoreditch. However, I do get very pronky on coffee, so will often opt for Good & Proper tea at their brew bar in Leather Lane.
Favourite street (and why)?
Maltby Street SE1; amazing interiors and delicious wholesale food suppliers who open up their doors on the weekend for a market.
Shop you most frequent (or wish you could)?
Your earliest memory of London/the West End?
Probably taking the train up from Sussex, eating inordinate amounts of pick ‘n mix, watching the performers in Covent Garden and skipping school to see Saturday Night Fever.
What, if anything, would make London a better place?
Sunshine and a beach
The building/view/piece of architecture that inspires you most?
The Barbican is pretty cool, it’s how I imagine the architecture to be in space.
What do you miss the most when away from London?
The food, my bike, the parks. The pockets of still, like the oasis of Neal’s Yard, versus the ebb and flow of manic life. You can party and sleep on next-door streets.
The ultimate place in London to live would be?
Kew Gardens. Can you imagine?
I only have 24 hours in London, what are your Must Do’s?
Wake up, quick to the top of Primrose Hill for sunrise, hop over to Piccadilly for breakfast at The Wolseley and pop your head into the Royal Academy. Take a wander through the streets of Covent Garden and Soho, parking yourself at one of the bar spots at Frith Street’s Koya for lunch, then walk up through Fitzroy Square to Honey & Co. for tea and cakes (with some shopping on the way there and back) finishing back on Frith Street with dinner at Hoppers.
Any top secret tips/places you’d like to share?
Walk everywhere, it’s so much fun to map out a new London on the back streets.
TB_HQ are offering the chance of one lunch for two plus a daily coffee and cake for a week from 26 Grains. Email 26WIN to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter.
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