Shuffling feet and gentle clanking, the coffee grinds away. How do you describe sound? This place oozes instant charm.
Old school tunes hum from a muffled radio somewhere up high. Everything feels festive. The benches and table-tops remind me of church pews, they are castle like and rustic and there are postcards + newspaper cuttings tacked to the wall. Customers here are transported to a faraway place from last century or the one before…
Is this where they found their flat whites behind the scenes of ‘A Christmas Carol’? I’m half expecting a fat man with a white beard to push open the door and lays eyes on those delectable Sally Clarke’s mince pies welcoming him in so early in November. Magical is an understatement. This can’t be Holborn…
The windows are fully condensed. You can read words about their coffee written in white paint on the windows back-to-front from the inside. The glass looks like it’s frosted with snow. It’s so warm inside. It feels like Christmas Eve.
It’s basically an apple soaked Madeira cake with a firm crust and pronounced fruity filling; superbly moist and sour sweet. It is dense but fluffy, and crumbles finely. Perfect as it is, I reckon they could totally milk this and charge an optional extra for a heap of clotted cream, custard or some ice cream – the kind of things nobody could/should ever say no to. I also notice that the carrot and orange sunshine cake is GF. There is also a sign indicating some Amaretto cheesecake. Hello.
It’s so easy to while away time here, plus the blonde girl who works here has the greatest Australian accent ever and she asks hey how you going to every new arrival. The place is also pretty tiny – a strict table sharing principle operates here. Many people have shared my pew but none of them have stayed long (Turns out they are actually real church pews!). Lots of others grab and go, there is new traffic by the minute. Meanwhile, I get half an essay done – the flat white made me do it.
I also learned from one girl opposite me that they don’t do anything sans dairy. No soy, no decaf. She is offered black coffee or tea. She chooses peppermint. Plus, they only accept cash so no cards. But Wild and Wood is 6 years old now, and they let you sit in and drink off church pews – so they can get away with this. A man comes up to the counter to pay, he says thanks for the best coffee I’ve had in 40 years. Go figure (Monmouth served here).
At this point, I’m pretty sure I have apple and almond crumbs in my hair and, oh my: Ashton Kutcher’s twin has just walked in. It’s time to leave and second-glance those £3.70 Cronuts on display. I speak to the owner on the way out – he lets me take photos and I say I really can’t wait for the Christmas décor to go up – he adds that they may just be bringing in some panettone next month too. Definitely returning.
On my way back to uni, I realize I completely missed my Spanish class. Oops. And then Rowan Atkinson walked past, which pretty much sealed my ending to 2014 because I just saw the real Mr. Bean – in Bloomsbury!!!
…or just sit in for some seriously good quality coffee and a slice of cake <3
Does anyone else know of any hidden gems? How easily can you crack on with work/writing in coffee shops? I used to only be able to study in the library or somewhere quiet, but the situation is the total opposite now!
Have a great week x