Sunday, 19 January 2014

No. 67, Peckham Road, South London

A cooler-than-thou cafe within the South London Gallery, No. 67 is housed in a charismatic old brick building on the main road between Camberwell and Peckham. It has several appealing dining rooms tastefully furnished with a stripped back, arty ambiance. The glass box at the back has an extraordinarily high ceiling and an attractive gold metallic wall print, plus a view of the modest garden.  On a Sunday, you can sample No. 67's justifiably acclaimed brunch. The smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough toast hits the spot for seven quid, while the waffles with crispy bacon and bourbon syrup is suitably decadent. Even better is the Spanglish breakfast (£10.50), featuring two eggs, chorizo, homemade baked beans,  an enormous mushroom, morcilla and sourdough toast. The veggie breakfast (£9.75) is also substantial and impressive: Two eggs (fried or scrambled), halloumi, bubble and squeak, beans, roast mushroom and toast. You can wash it down with the minted table water or order a decent coffee. However, you may have to wait 20 minutes for a table and the food can take another 30 minutes or so to arrive. If you aren't in a hurry, No. 67 is a fine place to while away a weekend lunchtime. 8/10

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

NH Amsterdam Centre, Stadhouderskade, Amsterdam

Housed in a sprawling building within sight of Amsterdam's landmark central station, the NH Amsterdam Centre is convenient and comfortable. The lobby, lounge and bar are spacious, cool and contemporary, while the lifts take you up to a maze of corridors with views across the nearby rooftops.  There are a couple of hundred rooms in various configurations. Although the decor is very safe, even the single rooms are quite spacious and well equipped with a safe, a desk, air conditioning, an iron and ironing board, a big TV and tea and coffee making gubbins. There is also free WiFi, but it can be very slow and there is a limit on how much data you can use. Still, the WiFi is okay for email and you can pay for a faster connection. When it comes to sleeping, the beds are comfortable, the rooms are quiet and you can open the window-door to let some air in. For breakfast, the extensive buffet is appealing, with fresh bread in many shapes and sizes, plus a distinctively Dutch selection of gouda-style cheeses, plus hot food, such as scrambled eggs and bacon. There are also fruit salads, fruit juices, cereals and other standard fare. Although the machine coffee is a bit of a let down, you should leave the NH Amsterdam Centre well rested and well fed. 7/10