This past weekend one of my friends had a birthday and we decided to live it up in London. Due to my placement and university location I am finding myself becoming fairly acquainted with the capital, as well as the fact my boyfriend goes to LSE so I have a good excuse to wander about zone one. This meant I was a tour guide of sorts, which was rather interesting as being acquainted with London is very different to being a die-hard Londoner! This led to quite a bit of “I think I went to a nice place around here, maybe?”
After a rather cheesy tour of the Thames by boat, as it just meant we could get all the standard photos without having to walk for about a tenner (so many tourists, but there was no way we were walking all around Westminster as my friends packed bags for the trip like they were emigrating to Australia), we were soaked from the typical British rain and in need of a warm drink.
Just opposite the Tower Bridge pier was a coffee shop we at first assumed would be too fancy for us as it was just on the water and had panoramic views of tower bridge, the Shard, and the tower of London. When we entered, we were greeted with a pleasant warm air, exposed brick (my personal favourite), and a whole host of delicious French pastries. This is of course Paul’s, an absolutely gorgeous shop, with gigantic windows sweeping across the shop to let us take in the wonderful view. This place is also student approved as it cost the same as your average trip to Costa.
To say we were spoiled for choice is an understatement, with so many beautiful treats to choose from. I went for a mille feuille, and my friend chose what we both agreed to be the prettiest cake we had seen for a while, pictured above. There were also a range of sandwiches, quiches and tarts, but we were more in need of a haven from the rain. I always find mille feuille a bit difficult to eat, but they can be oh so delicious and worth looking a bit silly trying to cut into one. The icing on top was more of a simple sugar glaze; as opposed to the thicker white icing you see on some supermarket versions that I always find to be far too sweet. It was a perfect treat to have alongside my coffee and some good friends.
This brings me on to one of the most important points; the coffee! I ordered a cappuccino and dusted on some cinnamon (I recommend that whole-heartedly), but neglected to take a photo as it came in a standard card cup. Honestly, I much prefer a good tasting coffee served straight up, as opposed to the more photogenic theatrics that are ripe for the Instagram feed. This was a solid cup of coffee, having a strong rich taste that was still noticeable through the milk and foam, making me wish I had opted for an americano to really enjoy it.
What really makes a place for me, is always the atmosphere. Of course the food and drinks must be good, but I would much rather a nice coffee sitting in a little nook looking out at a river, than a good coffee on a high metal stool looking out at another high rise building across the road. Paul’s definitely had the atmosphere, even though it got very busy at times being in such a prime location, and still gave a good place to relax on a rainy Sunday afternoon.