19 September 2013

London Design Festival: CAFE SMUG

In an effort to try to make the most of this year's London Design Festival, I pored over the brochure to try to find somewhere near enough to King's Cross for a lunchtime trip. Enter CAFE SMUG, a pop-up café in the lower level (basement feels wrong, somehow) of SMUG, a lifestyle store in Camden Passage. Isn't that a superbly tongue-in-cheek name for a beautiful, design-inspired Islington shop?

It took a few minutes to descend the stairs because I wanted to stop and look at all of the pretty things on the ground floor. Notebooks! Enamel crockery! Colour-blocked pens! All in Pantone-perfect palettes.

As for the café, there are a few tables inside and a few more in the courtyard garden, but it was far too inclement on Tuesday for any al fresco dining. It's hard to mind too much, though, when it feels like you're having lunch in the living room of a friend with immaculate taste.

CAFE SMUG is more of a coffee-and-cake kind of place than a proper eatery, but they do have a couple of savoury options: quiche and filled croissant. The ham-and-cheese croissant, served with a rocket salad, was really good, with prosciutto, or similar, inside. And when it's served on a Falcon plate, with gold cutlery, how can it not look elegant? Freshly-squeezed OJ is available, but I stuck to the mint-garnished water, and managed to resist the tasty-looking cookies.

The pop-up café is only there until this Sunday, but if you miss it, you should head to SMUG anyway: it's pretty hard to leave empty-handed (I am now the proud owner of one of these grey Falcon tumblers). They do also have an online store.

CAFE Smug, at SMUG until 22 September. 13 Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1 8EA (Tube: Angel). Website. Twitter.

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