Our newest Lifestyle writer, Mahnoor, takes us on a tour around the best bakeries near campus.
Hi everyone! My name is Mahnoor and I’m a fourth-year student at UCL. I’m also someone with a love of all things food. I’m an international student and as soon as I set foot in London I was exploring cafes and restaurants in and around the city, something my friends and my bank account can attest to. Since it’s the beginning of the year, I thought I’d share three of my favourite cafes around UCL for all the new UCL students, as well as for any existing students who are looking for a new place to get lunch or coffee (and cake).
Ole and Steen
Starting off with what is now my new favourite place to visit when I have some free time at university. Ole and Steen recently opened its new branch at the end of Tottenham Court Road, near the tube station. The reason I visit so often is that I never have any trouble finding a seat as there are several tables within the café. Plus, it’s a good place for a quick snack or a filling lunch. Ole and Steen is a Danish café and specialises in foods such as rye bread and cinnamon rolls. For those looking for a healthy lunch, their open-faced sandwiches are a great option, serving a range of toppings to cater to everyone. What I really want to talk about, however, is their famous Cinnamon Social, appropriately named because of its size – large enough to share between 8-10 people. Thankfully, they do offer very generous single-servings which, according to Ole and Steen, are sold every two minutes. These rolls are unique because in addition to the cinnamon sugar, the pastry is dotted with custard. Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.
Bloomsbury Coffee House
I had heard lots about the Bloomsbury Coffee House from other UCL students and after visiting more than a few times, I understood why. The café, located near Tavistock Square, is a cozy, little café located within a basement. They do a simple breakfast in the morning and have great sandwich and salad options for lunch. Some items on the menu are fixed, however most of them change daily which allows you to try something new each time you visit. They’re also known for their cinnamon rolls but because it’s a rotating pastry selection, you have to play your luck to be able to taste these! One thing to note is that due to the size, it’s not suited towards having large groups of people and the place can get very busy during lunch hours. However, if you want a few hours to yourself, this is the place to go.
Gail’s has branches all around London, 43 to be exact. They serve up fresh bread, pastries and sandwiches daily. There are actually two branches near UCL. One is on Tottenham Court Road, a 10-minute walk from the main campus and the other is on Wardour Street in Soho, about a 20-minute walk. Not surprisingly, I’ve visited both. The first thing you’re greeted with when entering Gail’s is a large counter display of pastries, both savoury and sweet. They also have a selection of breakfast pots and sandwiches – the roasted vegetable and green tahini sourdough ciabatta is one I can’t recommend enough. Other recommendations include their famous sausage roll and a cinnamon crumble cake (my favourite for dessert). Definitely visit in the morning when everything is fresh out of the oven and still warm. Another plus: the branch on Tottenham Court Road recently expanded their seating area, so it’s a good place to come with a few friends to relax or get a study session in.