Monday, 19 December 2016

Friday peregrination: coffee, art, entertainment and chicken

It’s been an enjoyable weekend so far with some pleasant discoveries. It began on Friday, as I had taken a bit of leave. We strolled out to new place called Cafe Frei, which had opened just a week ago. On offer were a wide range if coffee drinks, attributed to different countries.

I was intrigued, and then my eye was caught by something called “Malaysian Ipoh White Coffee”. Straits coffee, the sort that you get in Malaysia and Singapore is, to the best of my knowledge unobtainable in the UK. I got a bit excited, but then I was told that it was not made with condensed milk. I realised that this was meant to be a Japanese drink. 

It sounded very nice, but not quite what I was after at the time. 

I looked around for something else and chose the Nicaraguan tobacco coffee. My companion opted for something called V60 Japanese black coffee.

Both were very good. The Nicaraguan tobacco coffee did really taste of cigars, in a nice way which I believe would appeal even to non-smokers. The V60 was a very good long filter coffee.

Cafe Frei, it turns out, is a Hungarian chain, and this is the first branch to open in London. I'm certainly going to be returning, since it's conveniently close to our flat. I'm now very curious about all their other drinks, including the "Malaysian Ipoh White Coffee", and their cakes looked very good too. I expect to be a frequent visitor.

Later that evening we went to the Leyden Gallery for their Christmas party. This superb small gallery, run by Lindsay and Adriana Moran, is close to our flat, and we drop by whenever we can. Apart from exhibitions, they also host talks, life drawing classes and entertainments (such as their Sybarite Nights)

That evening, there was a bar serving delicious prosecco cocktails designed by Adriana. The entertainments were hosted by Lindsay. Apart from being a cultured and erudite gallery owner, he is also a veteran of the stand-up comedy circuit, and an accomplished accordionist. There were talented singers, and a hilarious stand-up comic who made me literally cry with laughter (Charmian Hughes). The closing act was an extraordinary trio of two cellists and a violinist/singer (Alice Zawadzki), who played Sephardic music and sang songs in Ladino, the language spoken by the Jews of who lived in Andalusia until their expulsion in the 15th century. Haunting, intense, emotional stuff.

We walked home afterwards and stopped by to pick up a snack at our local fried chicken shop. While we were waiting, a group came in, one of whom was dressed as a Roman legionary. His helmet was of re-enactor quality and I remarked on it. He had come from Trier in Germany, a city that had been founded by the Romans, whose inhabitants were clearly proud of their heritage. They had, I was told, all the remains you might expect to see in an old Roman town: a temple, a theatre, baths, and so on. Another addition to the list of places I should visit. Excellent fried chicken, by the way.

61A Alie Street, London E1 8EB, UK
Opn daily; see website for hours

9/9a Leyden Street , London E1 7LE

129 Leman St, London E1 8EY
Always open whenever I need some

No comments: