All hail the Hippo…

Kiss the Hippo. What a name. I mean, who doesn’t already love it, this whimsical sounding place across the river?

Opened last year in the lush, royal leafiness of Richmond by entrepreneur Can Eren and a team looking to create the ultimate coffee experience, the imminent opening of a second branch in Fitzrovia meant I had to seriously bump this coffee shop up my ever-swelling list of places to eat in the capital – I have a slightly weird-but-charming/totally understandable-and-charming thing about visiting the original site once a place gets successful enough to expand. Thing is, I’m a North London gal which means that Richmond often seems like the sort of destination I’ll need maps, a packed lunch and at least a day to get to.

Reality check? It’s 3 lines on the tube…excellent. I survived the trip there without eating…remarkable. And it only took an hour…ace.

Flooded with sunlight on the sort of day when London actually remembered that it was supposed to be summer, there’s a open, light, airy feel to the place which heralds all sorts of blonde wood & concrete floor goals. It’s a little how I imagine sitting in the creamiest, fluffiest whipped cream cloud must be and how could that be anything other than glorious?

The in-house Loring S-15 roaster – one of the most environmentally friendly on the market thanks to precision heating and impressively low fuel consumption – sits at the back behind glass fronted door while, mere steps from the entrance, glass fronted cabinets display picture-perfect croissants, cookies the size of my head – again, glorious – and cinnamon buns, icing imperfectly swirled with a home baked touch that I loved.

Iced lattes are creamy with deep, fruitily spiced flavour and served by staff clearly skilled at their craft; current & former UK Barista Championship winners work here, their unwavering love for the bean shining out of each brew.

The Hippo Bun sees a croissant roll precariously sandwiching caramelised onion jam, slices of beef tomato and slabs of bacon together with a perfect, jelly-sweet yolked fried egg; take a moment, I beg of you, to ogle the tree trunk layers of lamination…I did.

Becoming a local here is unlikely; becoming one at the new Fitzrovia branch is much more probable given the geographical maths. That said, there are always friends in this green & leafy borough who deserve to be visited.

Often.

For breakfast and coffee.

Always coffee. 

Going gaga for Tata…

Those looking to eat Tata Eatery’s katsu sando at Tayer & Elementary should know that two things are required; a love of food that melts softly in a puddling pool of its own delicious fat and the ability to unhinge your jaw like something simultaneously alarming yet endearing from ‘Planet Earth’.

Pitched somewhere between anchovy soldiers & burrata flatbreads on a beautifully brief menu in a gloriously industrial space, this crispy buttery sandwich is prime edible real estate. Held in place between two slices of toasted brioche, layers of sweet raspberry sauce, crunchy cabbage & an umami power bomb red pepper paste, the panko pork is rich and quivering, falling apart in your mouth with the barest of efforts.

Perfect rhubarb highballs look like something lifted straight from Barbie’s hen-do cocktail menu; slightly sharp, vaguely sweet and poured around giant ice blocks, I drank them without hesitation or delay, congratulating myself on a job well done as they disappeared without trace or struggle. Even the water looks exquisite here, held captive in beautifully fashioned tree bark glasses.

Softly curled up gently in their bowl like an otherworldly translucent underwater plant, endive leaves bore no trace of their characteristic bitterness and were dotted with candied walnuts, a deeply savoury smoked yoghurt sauce spooned on the side that I could have spooned over everything.

Flatbreads were crispy, pocketed with golden bubbles and slathered with molten-middled burrata & soft salty seaweed…

…whilst briny baby Cantabrian anchovies lay draped across fat, fluffy toasted soldiers like fanciful pin-ups from the forties…

…and ox cheek quesadillas arrived gossamer thin and incredibly crispy, almost shattering in your mouth one great greedy bite at a time. Loaded with thick tangy yoghurt and a waterfall of herbs, you might go for the sando but don’t leave without eating the quesadilla.

Too full of good stuff for dessert – the notion of pacing oneself will be a lifelong struggle for me – the suggestion of a coffee slushie from our gorgeously bouncy waiter was a perfect one. Frozen coffee blended with Havana rum, coffee liqueur, both condensed & coconut milks and little bit of magic create the ultimate grown-up hard shake. Drank here in teeny tiny glasses, this would be a totally credible day-time way of cooling down in the summer even if you might find your afternoons fading into a delightfully mellow haze after one or two or six…

There’s a lot to like about eating here – the brevity of the menu, the extraordinarily friendly service, the global influences all muddling together into small plates full of elegance and flavour – but what’s really special is the love of food & the confidence in what this team is doing that radiates out of each dish. Come the summer, those drinks and that menu are going to be one of the best things about living within walking distance of this new Old St beauty.

Be right back…

This is a wedding-honeymoon-friends-family kind of summer…

Edible Angel is taking a well earned vacation…

Back soon with more love for and of all things edible…

Alex. xxx