Jacob the Angel
16A Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP, UK
After their success with much loved restaurants Barbary and Palomar, siblings Layo and Zoë Paskin have turned their hand to opening a café, bringing that same passion about the best of ingredients, suppliers and flavours to a new format. It’s a beautiful café, with great use of historic text on white walls and mounds of delicious salads and tempting baked fancies. The tiny space takes its name from Jacob, a Jewish entrepreneur, surname unknown, who opened one of England’s first ‘coffey houses’ in Oxford in 1651, before moving to London to continue his coffee career. The address, 16½ Neal’s Yard is all the more apposite for that.
The menu is devised by head chef Daniela Gattegno, who was sous chef at The Barbary next door and before that Ottolenghi, Moro and Morito. Food is superb, Mediterranean in style, with a wonderful interplay between flavours and ingredients. Not surprisingly, queues for lunch are common. Come early and try to get one of the ten seats inside, most come for takeaway food and coffee. Coffee is from Square Mile and superbly made. Cups are takeaway only but as with the wrappings and food boxes, recyclable or biodegradable.
Anyone with an eye for Instagram will have spied their signature coconut cream pies. But the beauty is more than crust-deep here and they taste as splendid as they look – as do such unique morsels as tahini madeleines, an original concept by the café’s pastry chef. Zoë and Layo reportedly had as desire to create a coffeeshop that they themselves would love to visit, having worked in the area for a while. In so doing they have created somewhere special indeed.
Review: Phil Wain
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