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How to get a seat in a cafe in London

My favourite time in London is 9:30am on a Saturday or Sunday. On a weekday London at 9:30am would be hyper-charged with men in suits, meandering tourists and walkers whose pace is a fraction too slow. But at the weekend, the streets of central London are empty. So empty in fact you would be forgiven for wondering if the Zombie Apocalypse had happened overnight but somehow the news hadn’t made it to twitter.

During the week 9:30am is your first meeting for the morning, your second cup of coffee or the fifth time you have sworn at a colleague in your head. But around swings the weekend and we all consider it to be horrendously early.

Those early weekend hours are simply magic. If you feel yourself falling out of love with London then I really recommend getting out and about early. The calm and the quiet make it feel like you have the city all to yourself. And, if you are like me and hate queuing for food then arriving fractionally earlier at a cafe means you can walk straight into a table. VIP service without the overbearing ego.

It continues to boggle my mind that Londoners will happily turn up at 10:30am and then stand outside for an hour before they can even get their first whiff of coffee. But they won’t just get to the cafe an hour earlier.

Anyway. All this to say that last weekend I had 5 annoying little jobs to do and I didn’t want to feel like I had spent my Sunday on life admin, so I found the one place in London I could tick everything off my list – Covent Garden (yeah, not my first thought either). My heart sank a little because Covent Garden isn’t known for its good brunch – until in a fit of intense googling I found Abuelo.

Turning up at 9:30am I had the long main table to myself and coffee was in front of me before I could even open Twitter. The cafe just has a calm vibe to it, I essentially want my future house to just be an extension of Abuelo. The coffee was on point but it was the food that has me planning a trip back next weekend.

I went for the fig, pistachio and honey whipped mascarpone on toast. It was so moreish and decadent – very rarely does the Instagram worthy dish actually live up in terms of flavour but this delivered. I will be back to Abuelo in a heartbeat, it is the calm little paradise you need off the tourist trap that is Covent Garden. If you want to try it out just do yourself a favour and head there early ok?

3 Comments

  1. September 17, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Omg that toast sounds AMAZING.

  2. September 22, 2018 / 10:45 am

    You know you’ll have to go at 8:30 now you’ve just told us all the secret…

  3. October 12, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    I am in loves with cafes. Every time I visit a new country I make sure I visit a local cafe. Never been in England tho, but I be sure to remember your advice if I find myself searching for a cafe in London.