If a trainee fairy maniacal working her way through ‘Bewitchment for Dummies’ were to cast a spell which meant I had to eat lunch in the same place everyday for evermore, I hope that place would be the Books for Cooks café in London.
Books for Cooks is at 4,Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, W11. The shop is long and narrow and the walls on either side are lined with book-filled shelves. There are cookery, wine, nutrition, food history and food related fiction books. At the back of the shop there is a small café with a test kitchen where they literally ‘cook the books’.
From Tuesday to Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday and for three weeks in August) lunch starts at noon and goes on until the food runs out. You cannot reserve a table so it’s best to get there early. They serve a different starter and main course daily (no choice). There is a menu of cakes to choose from to finish off your meal. Tuesday is a vegetarian day.
The lunch I had there recently was scrummy and extraordinarily good value. I had a Turkish organic lamb dish with bulgar wheat. With the lamb I had a glass of the pleasant and fruity biodynamic Domaíne de Savarínes wine – it’s a blend of Merlot and Malbec. The proprietor of Books for Cooks owns the Domaíne which is in Cahors in the South West of France.
I finished off my lunch with a slice of delicious damp dense Guinness and chocolate cake.
There is a programme of workshops on a variety of dates. If I lived in London, I would have signed on the dotted line for a few of them. They cost £40 and run for approx three hours.
Note; my lunch, the lamb dish with a glass of wine followed by a slice of the yummy cake and a pot of tea was £10 – no that’s not a typo it really was ten pounds.