A lot of people have asked me if there are any decent cafes near the British Museum. I basically always refer them to the London Review Cake Shop to ensure they don’t end up in one of the global conglomerates that are on every single street corner in London but often I hear back saying that while it looks amazing, it was full so they ended up at one of the chains.
Thankfully my friend’s husband recently informed me that he is very much in the know about Cafe Le Cordon Bleu which is a relative newcomer to the area (it opened in 2012 having been based in Marylebone before then) and offered to show me around the school then sample their cakes.
If you reach the British Museum any day other than Sunday, you can now be grateful that you’ll have the choice of two rather excellent cafes just a skip-hop-and-a-jump from the Mummies and Rosetta Stone.
Yes, this is the Le Cordon Bleu, the same school that has taught many a big name on the London cafe scene (Oh Hai, Bea of Bloomsbury and Pei of Teanamu~) and is internationally renowned for teaching French cuisine techniques to everyone from those who left home not knowing how to wield a kitchen knife to others who are total experts in the area. Their 52 schools are now in more than 20 countries, with the London school currently hosting students from over 60 international locations. It has a name, yah yah. Their courses range from a one-day breakfast baking course on a Saturday right up to the 9 month full-time Grand Diplome.
But you want to know if the tea and cake is any good don’t you?
Of course it is. It’s made by Le Cordon Bleu trained pastry chefs and their cakes are outstanding. The tea, made by French company Dammann Freres is a delightful addition. Mr Man and I thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon tea that they were trialling out at the time – we sincerely hope they make it a regular offering as for £16.50 per person, you get a very decent share of sandwiches made on perfect French buns (Mr Man for once was happy with the savoury to sweet ratio), nice little scones and pastries that make you go “ooooh” and “aaaaaah” an awful lot. Their fruit tarts are possibly unrivalled in central London.
I personally can see myself heading back there for a decent pastry and coffee on my way some Friday/Saturday soon to take BLC to the British Museum or nearby Corams Fields which she adores. They looked gorgeous.
And if I had the time and the money, I would enrol on one of their basic knives skills or week-long cooking classes as it would be good to be able to cook with technique rather than guess work which often results in something just plain odd. I wouldn’t/couldn’t pretend to be Julia Child but hey, if for some reason the passion for cooking (which sadly I don’t have) and the freedom to do a nine-month course came along, this is the first place I’d look to participate in something to make one more professional in the kitchen, then open up a Lady loves cake cafe which would be cool, quirky and serve up the best Mille Feuille that the world has ever seen…
Cafe Le Cordon Bleu can be found at 15 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2LS. Nearest tube is Holborn. It is open Monday-Saturday. For more information about their upcoming London-based courses see their website.