13 December 2014

The Caffeine Chronicles: Love & Scandal

"Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea," the novelist Henry Fielding once wrote. I didn't try the tea at Love & Scandal, nor did I sweeten my coffee, but I did have a sweet time yesterday at the new-ish coffee shop on Lower Marsh, near Waterloo.

Although Waterloo isn't too far from Bermondsey, I rarely find myself in the neighbourhood — apart from when I'm going to the BFI — so when I had a day off work yesterday and not a lot to do, I decided to walk along the river to try out a couple of new-to-me coffee shops. There are lots of nice independent shops and caf├ęs on Lower Marsh, and there was a small but bustling street-food market when I visited yesterday. I had already had some lunch at Borough Market, so I headed straight for Love & Scandal.

It was relatively quiet inside — perhaps unsurprisingly, given that it was a cold, grey Friday afternoon — and the first thing I noticed was the comic book art on the walls. There is a shabby-chic vibe inside: well-loved tables, exposed-brick walls and pendant light bulbs. There is also a very smart-looking red La Marzocco machine sitting in pride of place on the counter. It's pretty roomy inside, which makes a welcome change from some of the beautiful but rather too bijou espresso bars you often get in central London.

Love & Scandal doesn't yet serve hand-brewed filter coffee, although they hope to soon, so I ordered a macchiato (£2.20) and went to hang out with Superman while I waited. The coffee was rather good — they use Alchemy coffee, and it was a rich and smooth. My macchiato came with just tiniest dab of foam, just the way I like it.

If you're looking for something more substantial, they serve soup and a selection of sandwiches, as well as the usual cakes and pastries. All in all, Love & Scandal is a great addition to this part of Waterloo — a welcome respite from the crowds of the South Bank and Waterloo station.

Love & Scandal. 107 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7AB (Tube: Waterloo or Lambeth North). Facebook. Twitter.

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