Story Coffee, SW11

Story Coffee has been on my list to visit since I saw the captivating ghost sign on their front face on Instagram.

I was passing on my way to Pets at Home in Putney for the Frank & Beans art pop-up when I saw it and thought I’d use this opportunity to pop in afterwards.

They describe themselves as ‘quality-obsessed’ and ‘meticulously working to bring the best coffee’ and this was exactly the feel I got.

There’s a precision about the place which you can see as soon as you arrive at the kiosk window and see this lovely stand of neatly-wrapped cakes available.

I was pleased they had Skimmed Milk available.

I had a large Skinny Cappuccino.

I sat at the couple of tables outside and felt very relaxed and peaceful watching customers order at the kiosk while I observed the workings of the barista inside, like a gentle coffee factory.

They also have a larger café space with a brunch menu just down the road in Wandsworth which I also saw on my way.

That’s definitely somewhere I will go and explore.


Little Frenchies, Wandsworth

The logo of Little Frenchies is a French bulldog and they’re very dog-friendly.

I loved my visit and hope to go again soon.

What was interesting is Old York Road is pedestrianised and there are lots of cafés with tables outside. The street has such a laid-back feel compared to normal London.

I was lucky to go on such a sunny day though.

Sadly there was no French bulldog there at the time – but there was this big floof.

The service is super-welcoming and I was really happy.

They had Skimmed Milk available, so here is my Skinny Cappuccino, and I also had this squidgy banana muffin.

The brunch options also looked great.


The Connaught Patisserie, Mayfair

This Patisserie is a part of the the five-star hotel The Connaught, and what I particularly wanted to see was their signature dog-shaped cake, the Connaughty Hound.

The area is so exclusive that when I arrived I started to get nervous about actually going in.

But when I saw the Patisserie itself, there was a buzz about it with people going in and out and it looked fine to go into.

Inside the atmosphere was welcoming and comfortable and I decided to take a table.

A lot of the customers and staff are French and speak in French which I love.

The Connaughty Hound is even more impressive when you see it – it has a whole aura about it!

I was pleased they have Skimmed Milk and here is my Skinny Cappuccino. It did cost £7.50 but it was actually superb coffee and I really enjoyed my visit.

Currently they also have available to order a galette des rois. This is a cake with a strong tradition in France, to celebrate the Epiphany. It is typically a puff pastry filled with frangipane, and a small charm called a fève is hidden inside – whoever finds it gets to wear the paper crown.

In this version you will find a miniature figure of the Connaughty Hound!


Little Brown Dog

This novel is based on the real historical event of the ‘Brown Dog affair’.

In 1903, two feminist and anti-vivisectionist activists, Lizzy Lind af Hageby and Leisa Schartau, having infiltrated a lecture by William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology of University College London, alleged they witnessed him perform a cruel vivisection on an inadequately-anaesthetised brown terrier dog.

Prominent barrister Stephen Coleridge supported them and publicly accused Bayliss of torture.

Bayliss sued for libel at The Royal Courts of Justice.

The anti-vivisectionists commissioned a bronze statue of the dog as a memorial, unveiled in 1906 at the Latchmere Recreation Ground in the progressive area of Battersea.

The medical establishment was enraged by the statue, and medical students led attacks of vandalism against it, which inflamed into riots where they clashed against a coalition including suffragettes and trade unionists.

The novel is a fictional, imagined version of the lives of the two key female activists.

Wealthy Lena Hageby welcomes Eliza Blackwood to live with her. After what they witness at the lecture they become devoted to the cause of the little brown dog. However Eliza is also in love with conflicted medical student Jack Forsyth.

One of their first dates is in a Lyons’ tea shop. This novel is in many ways a love-letter to London – but not shy of the perennial themes of over-crowdedness, inequality and pollution.

The whole time reading this book, in my head I was watching it as a film. I really believe there is a great film to be made here! The writer herself has said she first wrote the book as a screenplay. The style I was imagining was Finding Neverland (2004) or Miss Potter (2006). A film might prefer a happy ending, though in the book the story takes a turn at the end which is uncomfortable and bittersweet.

I have found it extraordinary to discover the history of the ‘Brown Dog affair’.

The statue remains controversial. After the fate of the original in 1910, a new statue created by Nicola Hicks was unveiled in Battersea Park in 1985, which was again taken down in 1992, before finally being reinstated in 1994 to a more secluded area of the park.

This very special and beautiful book has captured a story we ought to know.


England’s Lane, Belsize Park

A really charming spot, I found England’s Lane welcoming and convivial, with a gallery-café vibe.

Here is my Skinny Cappuccino.

They have fresh cakes and pastries on display in flavours including Carrot & Pistachio and Coconut & Spinach, and lovely brunch offerings such as scrambled eggs or toasted bagels.

There is this nook on the side for takeaway orders. 


Megan’s, Islington

Megan’s was on my radar just before the lockdown came.

It is a set of trendy and proudly dog-friendly restaurants.

Today I visited the Islington branch, whose proper name is Megan’s at the Sorting Office.

Islington is full of lovely little cafes, boutiques and interior design shops.

I went on a Monday morning when it would be quiet, so there was plenty of room in Megan’s and I took a nice table for myself.

I had planned to order my normal coffee but once I was there and browsed the menu which is full of lovely brunches such as Baked Eggs, I thought I’d at least order a croissant.

I had a couple of bites but regretted letting myself be even that indulgent and felt I should have ordered like the lady sitting behind me a black Americano and a green juice!

I was very happy with my Skinny Cappuccino – very hot even though I had not specified Extra Hot as I often have to order in places, and came with chocolate on top.

There is a relaxed vibe and good service throughout.

As you can see from the pictures the décor is really special.

There are cute little sofas for the dogs, who are definitely a key part of the atmosphere.

Nearby there were some ladies in floral dresses having a breakfast meeting – like an American film version of London!

I would definitely recommend this place for a coffee catch-up and I’m sure in the busy times the atmosphere is buzzing.

I hope to try their Espresso Martini one evening.

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Gingerbread Dog at Costa

I saw this a little while ago when it first came out. I’ve tried it now and would actually highly recommend it. It tastes soft and fresh and quite spiced!

It’s also vegan apparently if that interests you. More information can be found on the Costa site.


The Nook, Hampstead

Another café I wanted to try is The Nook.

This was a bit of a celebrity-inspired pilgrimage as Louis Tomlinson’s girlfriend Eleanor Calder has mentioned this place on her Instagram stories.

It’s really tiny and cute as the name suggests, it’s takeaway only and right opposite Hampstead Heath Overground station.

I wanted to try their hot chocolate with giant marshmallow that I’ve seen, but they said they’ve stopped doing this now for the summer season to focus on iced drinks, and I asked them and the marshmallow wasn’t vegetarian anyway so I wouldn’t have had it.

So I ordered my standard coffee and took it to a bench on The Heath to watch the dogs go by.