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Bloomsbury Coffee House

Bloomsbury Coffee House

Helen Schnabel takes us to Bloomsbury Coffee House for her first review

Bloomsbury Coffee House, 20 Tavistock Pl, London WC1H 9RE

Instagram appeal: 7/10
A solid 7, although the reduced lighting underground proved to be an issue.

Edginess: 6/10
Nothing on Shoreditch, but The Bloomsbury definitely attracts some edgy types.
Good for:
A productive reading session.
Most Likely To Meet:
Either a wannabe Ian McEwan or a less posh Oliver Proudlock.
Affordability: 7/1 0
Definitely doable on a student budget, and don’t forget that magical student discount.

In my search for the perfect place to launch my tea and cake column, I stumbled across the Bloomsbury Coffee House on Tavistock Place and decided to drag along my friend Lizzie, a fellow Exeter grad, to check it out. Admittedly I was initially drawn in by their 10% student discount (always a winner) and the fact that it was walking distance from UCL, but their cakes didn’t look too bad either.

As an underground hideaway for wannabe writers tapping away on their macs and thoughtful, brooding types in tortoise-shell horn-rimmed glasses examining the pages of War and Peace, The Bloomsbury Coffee House is the ideal place to seek refuge during an essay deadline or dissertation crisis. Its retro wooden chairs and tables, although less comfy than Nero’s leather armchairs, definitely provide a welcome change from Costa’s fairly generic seating.

As much as I love a bit of furniture chat, I should probably move on to the reason we were actually visiting: the tea and coffee and more importantly, cake. Having browsed (and drooled over) the selection of cakes on their website in preparation, I was genuinely quite distressed by the fact that at 3 o’clock (hardly an unusual time) there were only two cakes to choose from. Yes, our choice of the “Devil’s Food Cake” (essentially a 5000 calorie slice of chocolate heaven – dark chocolate sponge and chocolate buttercream icing) may have been pretty amazing and probably saved us half an hour of um-ing and ahh-ing, but I’m probably not alone in thinking that browsing a big selection of cakes is almost half the fun.

While I played it safe and ordered what turned out to be a fairly average cappuccino (slight error), Lizzie, always living on the edge, pushed the boat out and went for a Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows, and cocoa dusting. As you can see from my lovely Instagram, she was pretty happy with her decision.

Whether you’re just after something off the beaten track or you’d quite like to join the sea of macs and Penguin Classics, I’d definitely recommend a visit to The Bloomsbury Coffee House (but make sure it’s before their 3 o’clock cake famine).

Helen Schnabel