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So it seems that the humble café is no longer enough. The café, the restaurant, they have to do more than just serve us food and drink. Themed venues are popping up everywhere (although I’m still waiting for New York’s very cool Ninja Restaurant to transplant itself onto these shores) and it probably won’t be long until London has its own Japanese inspired maid café. It was in one of these more-than-just-a-café (minus the maids) in King’s Cross that I spent a Saturday afternoon recently, celebrating the birthdays of a couple of friends. Drink, Shop & Do, as the name suggests is more than just a place to get some tea and cake (perish the thought!) Before entering the café you walk through a shop full of fun, handmade and locally designed gift ideas; cards, stationary, home ware and jewellery, and if that doesn’t tempt you then why not try the ‘Do’ part of the name. This café organises (often craft-based) afternoon and evening activities. Any of these take your fancy: balloon bending, ‘Transport Origami’, ‘Papier Mache Monster Mash’, or other fun times, including, ‘Adult Colour By Numbers’, ‘Musical Bingo’ and the saucily named ‘Vintage Pin-Up Porn Dot-to-Dot’.
If you, however, as we did, find yourself at Drink, Shop & Do on a lazy Saturday afternoon when there may not be any activities organised, then there are tons of board games to keep you occupied. We were sucked in by those old favourites, Jenga (I was terrible) and Cluedo (far better. For once it wasn’t that poor misunderstood Miss Scarlet). I’m a huge fan of board games in cafés and bars and I wish more places had them. They’re great fun, and before long a few tables had taken our cue and started playing. It’s a win win for the venue too. A lengthy Scrabble match may lead to you ordering more than just the one coffee. In fact it took us a fair while to work out it was that sneaky Mrs White after all!
The Drink, Shop & Do cafe area has that cute, slightly kooky vintage vibe that everyone seems to love; ice cream colours, mismatched chairs and crockery, cakes on the counter and old collectibles artfully dotted everywhere. It was this look presumably that the contestants on The Apprentice were trying to achieve a few weeks ago, but threw dead leaves over everything instead. Though the set afternoon teas sounded delicious (love that they have a guy-centric one with pork crackling and scotch egg) we’d come just for cake, it was a birthday after all. I’d been lusting after macarons after spotting them on the menu but they were sadly out of them, so I went for the cheesecake instead which tasted just as good as any I’d eaten in New York. The Nutella milkshake was delicious, although I requested it minus the malt as I feared it may have been a little too sickly. The Victoria sponge and passion fruit meringue pie also come highly recommended by the rest of the group, as well as the brown paper bags full of your old favourite sweets. More nostalgia came in the shape of the mismatched crockery, including one particular 80s side plate which lead to unexpected delight in memories of sugar bowls and milk jugs from that particular tea service.
As far as the loo review (I know, sadly omitted by most mainstream reviews), Drink, Shop & Do was exemplary. I particularly loved the hand wash and moisturizer combo and we were all intrigued by posters advertising the upcoming ‘The Mixtape Club’, an indie speed dating night with a twist. Couple that with the ‘Lunchtime Disco’ that they run on a Friday, yes you read that correctly, no more boring lunch breaks at chain sandwich shops for you, Drink, Shop & Do is pretty much guaranteed a revisit.
Tweeted Review Score: 3/5 Tweet
Niki is a food blogger and currently undertaking the ultimate gourmand (read: greedy) challenge: 365 days of dinner blogging. Follow her journey (and plates) at http://dinneroftheday.tumblr.com/ and Follow @breakinglon