A was suffering from a fit of nostalgia this weekend, and begged C to go with him up to Hampstead for an afternoon drifting around his old schoolboy haunts. Fortunately, C always is happy to visit the area as she loves poking around the second hand bookshop on Flask Walk, and knows that the pastries available in the Village are of the highest order (and the crépes - but that's for another post). There are all the usual chains and a host of wonderful independent places scattered along the High Street, down Rosslyn Hill and in the surrounding streets.
|Pie and grinders|
While we usually go to Hampstead cafés Ginger and White or Louis, we decided to break with tradition and stopped into Melrose and Morgan, a modern take on an old fashioned English provender shop and tea room. Set on a back alley in the heart of the Village and selling lots of fresh goodies, the place is a delight. We settled in on their mezzanine cafe for a cup of tea and a rest.
|M&M's interior, stuffed to the gunnels with goodies|
While C usually goes straight for the sweeties, she fancied something more substantial this time and ordered a sweet potato pie and a cup of tea, in what was possibly the most feminine and middle-class football lunch imaginable. The pie was excellent: the pastry was crisp and tasty (no Mary Berry-esque soggy bottoms here, we're pleased to report) and the filling was delicious - sweet potato, small new potatoes, spring onions, red onions, a variety of herbs and a crunchy, cheesy topping.
|They don't serve it like this at Selhurst Park...|
A wasn't hungry at all, so settled on a pot of white tea, which came attractively presented in a little purple teapot with a minature mug. White tea is one of A's favourites, and he can drink gallons of the delicately flavoured stuff. Melrose and Morgan's really hit the spot, and there was many an audible mmm and aaah as A worked his way through the pot. Pleasingly, there is a hot water cistern at the back of the mezzanine, and customers are free to keep refilling their water until the leaves are spent. This seems like a very good idea; perhaps more cafés should offer this kind of service where loose leaf teas are available.
|Apple cake - we think...|
While we didn't eat any of them, we did poke around the sweet treats section of the provender shop downstairs: there seemed to be a whole variety of things on offer, as the pictures show. They change their fillings daily, and we can't quite remember the specifics of the cakes on the day we went, but there were certainly apple cakes and lemon curd mini-pies on offer (which C wished she had room for - old problem of eyes and stomachs, though). While we can't vouch for the taste, they certainly looked and smelled amazing.
|Mmmm: M&M's delicious-looking sweet pies|
While this place isn't a Hampstead café classic like Ginger and White or Louis, it's certainly well worth checking out. The place is doubly attractive as you can pick up some scrumptious stuff without having to amble down to the Rosslyn Deli (or whatever its successor institution is now called) to get any treats for the fridge or larder.
|A small selection of the massive range of honey available|