Whenever I hop across the channel and visit our friends on The Continent, I'm always struck by one thing. Whether it's Amsterdam or Antwerp, Berlin or Barcelona - there never seems to be a shortage of charming, stylish cafés to enjoy. Sophisticated little spaces that allow you to sip a coffee, relax with a newspaper and watch the world go by.
Then I come back to London.
I'm not exactly sure why it's so hard to find a pleasant place for a coffee in Central London. Is it because the rents are so high that independent coffee shops cannot survive? Is it the power of the Starbucks/Costa/Nero mafia that suffocates smaller businesses? Or is it the fact that English social life is so centred on pub culture that coffee shops can't compete? Whatever the reason, finding a civilised spot for a decent cuppa is a tall order in the West End.
Which is why The Nordic Bakery is such a great discovery. The moment that you enter the space in Soho's Golden Square you are immediately struck by something quite delicious.
It's not the excellent design of the café, with its beautiful contrast of dark blue walls and scandinavian inspired woodwork. It's not the fact that instead of a soundtrack of 'lite' tunes, all you can hear is the pleasant hum of polite conversation taking place. It's not the simple and effective graphic design or the delicious looking products on display.
It's the smell. Every day, The Nordic Bakery makes batches of the most scrumptious (and sweet smelling) cinnamon buns. The whole space is filled with the scent of baking and sugar and cinnamon. It's perfectly gorgeous, and mouth-watering.
With its calm atmosphere, beautiful design and all-round deliciousness, The Nordic Bakery is a perfect place to escape the madness of Soho and enjoy a little continental café style.
Nordic Bakery - 14 Golden Square, London, W1