A couple of weekends ago, D and I braved the FREEZING weather (no, I'm not a Northerner, I'm a wimp!) and took a little trip to Hyde Park- I'd heard about a clothes swap going on there and wanted to get rid of some summery clothes and swap them for winter woollies! The clothes exchange was held at Remade, a small community fashion studio in Hyde Park, who use unwanted clothes and community skills to create new fashion items- website here. They hold a monthly fashion exchange, where people can bring clothes to swap, which are exchanged for tokens, which you can then redeem against clothing and accessories that other people have brought along. I went with 11 items of unwanted summery bits (mostly shorts- I think I'm getting too old for sparkly denim hotpants!) and left with 7 new items- 2 dresses, a skirt, a jumper, a pair of boots, a pair of woolly tights and a hat, plus 4 tokens that I can redeem at the next exchange, which is this Saturday (November 13th), details here. Hope to see some of you there, and it truly is a great project- encouraging recycling, promoting community involvement and providing a great little social space (there's a cafe selling homemade cake and hot drinks) and something different to do on a Saturday.
Anyway, after swapping my unwanted stuff for a whole new wardrobe of warm clothes, it was lunchtime and D and I were both starving! There's a decent little collection of cafes, bars and takeaway places on Hyde Park Corner, so we wandered up there and decided to go to LS6 (formally known as the Clock Cafe) as I had never been and wanted to check out somewhere new.
The cafe was rammed; full of families and students- rather than putting me off, I quite like busy places as it suggests to me that it's a place worth going to. We found an empty table and, due to it being really busy, had to wait a while for a waitress to acknowledge our presence- something that would normally have annoyed me, but to be honest, it was nice and warm inside so I wasn't too bothered! Eventually, we were handed menus- D had been craving a fry up, so went for the Full English, whereas I chose a hot sandwich- the menus aren't available online, so I cant remember exactly what it was called, but it was the one with falafel and houmous in it! . We also ordered two black coffees. The decor of the cafe is seriously cool- retro furniture, mirrors all over one wall, bright colours, cosy little alcoves, and all the menus came in old record sleeves. (Mine was Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace, which was actually number 1 on the day I was born, there's a bit of trivia for you!)
As I mentioned before, the service was quite slow and the waiting staff didn't seem to be overly concerned by this- it did take a while for our order to be taken, and then for the food and drink to come, and a few other tables nearby were getting a little annoyed and resorting to shouting at any member of staff who walked past in order to get their attention, but to be honest, the whole vibe of the cafe was casual and relaxed, and this slow service seemed to fit in with the whole "lazy Saturday lunch" atmosphere. Maybe avoid if you're in a hurry! I love relaxed places though, the coffee even came in huge mugs which just made the place feel homely and chilled out.
Anyway, the food finally came! D's fry up was huge and contained all the essential elements you'd expect from a full English- it's definitely easy to see why this cafe is popular with the hungover Saturday afternoon crowd! His only complaint was that both the bacon and the toast were rather soggy and underdone- it did say on the menu that the sausages and bacon are cooked in an oven rather than fried to make it more healthy, so that might be an explanation for the bacon! I would not have been impressed if my bacon had come like that as I like mine crispy and cremated. D did wolf down the entire breakfast in record time though, which shows that it hit the spot perfectly- decent, hearty, no frills food to fill you up and banish any Saturday afternoon blues.
My sandwich was equally as filling- a generous portion of tasty falafel sandwiched between two massive slices of ciabatta. The sandwich itself was lovely; the middle Eastern flavours of falafel and houmous and roasted veg worked really well together, and my only complaint would be that the bread could have been a little more toasted as advertised on the menu; it was a bit reminiscent of eating one of those "oven bake at home" ciabattas from a supermarket straight out of the packet. The sandwich came with a side salad and some coleslaw; neither were particularly impressive; the coleslaw had too much mayonnaise and the side salad was just a bit of tomato, cucumber and lettuce with no dressing, a bit like the salads you used to get in late 80s/early 90s pubs (and definitely like the one you still get at my grandma's, although last time I went there for tea, she'd obviously been watching a bit of TV cookery- probably not Nigella though, as in my gran's words, she's "very frightfully frightfully" (er think that means posh!)- and served up separate leaves of cos lettuce, each containing a cherry tomato, a walnut and an olive) I'm just being picky though, because like D's fry up, I ate the lot and it definitely filled me up, warmed me up, and kept me going until teatime.
Like other eateries in the area, LS6's menu has a predominantly Mediterranean/Middle Eastern feel to it and has a pretty decent selection of breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and cakes. It also does an evening menu and I think sells alcohol as well, so I might check it out one evening- the ambience and decor of the place is great, and with a few tiny improvements, the food could move up a couple of levels as well, taking it from decent Saturday afternoon student fare to food that could compete with some of Leeds's best cafes. Definitely a place worth checking out for a relaxed weekend lunch.