It’s an ordinary Saturday morning in London, and I receive a text from my friend. She suggests meeting for a cup of tea in one of her favourite cafes in Chelsea. Am I in? It’s a sunny day and I would love to spend it outdoors, walking in the streets and enjoying the unusually beautiful weather. I’m here for the summer, in a lovely house I’m sharing with an Italian friend who lives and works in Hammersmith. My days are busy. I spend most of my time writing and translating. But in the afternoon I always go out for a walk, especially when the sun shines and the colours of London shine with it.
IN THE STREETS OF CHELSEA
I’ve already been to Chelsea recently, looking for a teashop that I found closed. I’m not used to the fact that shops close earlier here. Tired after several hours spent in front of my computer screen, I walked from Hammersmith to Earl’s Court. And then I got lost in not-so-nice streets I had never been to. Luckily my sense of direction is quite good, so I managed to reach Old Brompton Road even without Google maps. I like this part of London. Somehow it makes me feel as if I had been transported in the colonial era, among elegant, imposing houses, lavish gardens. I passed by a small, well-kept park and Saint Mary’s Church, walked along Gilston Road and got to King’s Road.
SMOOTHIE AT JUICEBABY
I decided to stop for a cup of tea, then changed my mind and went to Juicebaby. Green, purple, yellow fruit juices are displayed in the fridge, along with delicious-looking coconut and pistachio energy balls and brownies. I ordered avocado, vanilla and date smoothie and I sat at a table, next to a girl who was working at her laptop. So I started writing, too, and I came up with some notes that I’m using now for this post.
Back to the present: I ask my flatmate if she wants to come with me, and we take a bus to South Kensington, where we will meet our friend. The bright afternoon light makes everything look so beautiful. The square is full of Londoners and tourists sitting in the cafés, and there are books on sale at South Kensington Books, an independent bookshop I’ve always liked. Finally, my friend emerges from the tube station and we can walk towards Sloan Square, in the heart of Chelsea. I will always remember the first time I saw this elegant area. I had just graduated and moved to London for a while, with the girl who had been my study partner for four years. She wanted me to see a luxury hotel her mother used to stay at, and I felt like a child in front of a dolls house.
TEA AND RAW CAKE
Our first stop is T2, the teashop that I found closed two days ago. T2 is an Australian company and I’ve learnt to appreciate some of their blends, especially Melbourne tea, a black tea with a touch of vanilla. I take my time and enjoy being surrounding by their coloured boxes, and tasting new blends they offer to clients. Content with my purchases, I follow my friends through the streets of Chelsea. My eyes are captured by the typical brick buildings and the coloured houses with their pink, light blue, lilac and grey facades. The idea is to stop at MYHotel, a quiet place with a lovely courtyard where you can sit and have a piece of raw cake and a glass of almond latte. It doesn’t take me long to understand why this is one of my friend’s favourite cafes in Chelsea.
As I write, Tanya’s cafè is transforming into Tanya’s Retail but you can still enjoy their raw cakes at MY Kitchen. Even if you’re not vegan, you’ll love them. I can’t decide between chocolate and blueberry cake, so I try both. I don’t like my latte though, but I guess it’s because I’m not used to this kind of flavours. I seldom eat raw food. I miss my cup of hot, black afternoon tea. I’m sure it’s perfect with a raw cheesecake, too.
Sitting in one of the best cafes in Chelsea with a book and a slice of raw cake, in a sunny spring afternoon.