London’s Latest Scandal (LLS) isn’t anything to do with the government, the royal family or footballers/celebrities/popstars, but two delightful French sisters. When their mother was diagnosed with diabetes, Hayet and Sonia Zaame decided to create a special menu for her. As her glycaemic index came down, their ambitions went up and they decided to open LLS, on Heath Street in Hampstead.
Raw, vegan, and gluten-free are buzz words at LLS Cafe, but this doesn’t detract from the goodies on offer. For their mum’s sweet tooth, they created lots of cake. Who knew cake could taste so good even without eggs, butter, flour or processed sugar, sweetened instead with fruit or raw coconut sugar?
Strawberry tart features delicate fruit atop light whipped coconut cream on a feathery pastry base, sweetened with apple and dates; lemon meringue tart is genius, made with no egg white; gooey chocolate tart has a coconut and sesame seed base; purple carrot cake is dreamy with its coconut cream icing.
It’s not all about the sweet stuff though, and although the sisters’ ethos is Eat No Evil, it is not all ‘free from’. There are sourdough toasties stuffed with blueberries, mozzarella and basil/ falafel, beetroot hummus and feta/chicken and salsa. Shakshuka with organic eggs and the Red Dragon Smoothie Bowl (acai, banana, mixed berries and granola) are popular for breakfast, while the salads in a jar layered with chicken, pearl barley, blueberries, creamy blue cheese and walnuts (The Great Chicken Salad) or quinoa, sweet potatoes, turmeric cauliflower, mixed leaves and sunflower seeds (The Golden One) are perfect for lunch on the go or at your desk.
The evening menu features aubergine-based tapas dishes with pesto/miso, cauliflower and goats cheese and blue cheese, Beet Burger in vegan bread, a range of salads and organic wines.
Polish off with the CappuChia, a chia pudding based cappuccino topped with coconut whipped cream or a freshly-made juice or smoothie.
95-97 Heath Street, London NW3 6SS
T: 020 7794 8600
New Place In Town
It was inevitable that Camden would eventually fall prey to the wave of gentrification that is sweeping across London’s down-and-out areas (Hoxton, Shoreditch, King’s Cross to name a few), but it’s happening with enough subtlety that Camden is still recognisable by its thronging crowds and eclectic market stalls. Atrium Kitchen is a fabulous new, bright, airy restaurant high above The Stables, which would never have made it there in the old days, but is extremely welcome now.
On a sunny morning, walking past the ‘beach’ area, replete with deckchairs, I felt a huge fondness for this part of north London and all its quirkiness.
Atrium Kitchen bills itself as an ‘all day’ hangout, with a menu that covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the pit stops in between. Its sleek, contemporary styling is down to the talent of Tom Dixon, who designed Sea Containers and Dock Kitchen.
And so to the food. I went for breakfast. The skinny cappuccino was delightfully (suspiciously?!) creamy. Two perfectly poached eggs alongside really good smoked salmon and sourdough toast set me up perfectly for the day ahead. My more indulgent colleague plumped for the three-egg omelette with cheese, spinach, mushroom and tomato – huge, filling and only £7.50. For lunch and dinner, the menu options expand into interesting salads including chicory with watermelon and feta and a Middle East salad with falafel, and plenty of hot mains, such as thyme-crusted halibut and pearl barley risotto. There are also community boards (sharing platters) and ciabatta sandwiches during the day, served with house fries and a salad.
The dessert list is really tempting – hard to say no to a passion fruit crème brûlée! This is a great new addition to the north London dining scene and a good place to eat with friends or have a meeting. Atrium Kitchen also has a few areas available for private hire.
Atrium kitchen North Stables Market, Camden Town, London NW1 8AH T: 020 3376 9999 W: Atriumcamden.com
On the side
Israeli-inspired Shoreditch-based turkey restaurant Strut and Cluck has launched a fantastic brunch menu. Highlights include the Tel Aviv-style brunch with a choice of eggs accompanied by a selection of mazetim (small plates), including labneh with za’atar, feta with honey, sesame and sumac, zhoug, and homemade preserves.
It also does a really good shakshuka and fried egg on hand-pulled turkey shawarma with dates, pine nuts, tahini and pita. Soft drinks include limonana and peach and rose iced tea, while cocktails such as a classic Bloody Mary and Boozy Earl Grey are also available. Brunch is served on weekends and bank holidays, from 11am to 3pm.
If you’re visiting the Brief History of Underwear exhibition at the V&A Museum this summer, make a day of it with lunch at Michelin-starred Launceston Place. A two-course set lunch and ticket for the exhibition costs £35 per person. Launceston Place is just a short walk from the V&A.
Teatime for teddy
The Langham Hotel has launched a Children’s Afternoon Tea in partnership with Hamleys. Each young diner will get a Hamleys teddy bear and enjoy jigsaw puzzle sandwiches, ‘cold’ chocolate, colouring in menus and much more. The tea is priced at £27.50 for children aged 12 and under.