[London] Before having a coffee at Jacob the Angel, you are first made to appreciate the place in which it is located.
You walk down some bystreets, past The Barbary, and finally find yourself in Neal’s Yard, a little clearing in between a cluster of buildings in Covent Garden.
It is a wonderful cosy space arranged with a picturesque seating, and adorned with plants and other colourful accoutrements.
Neal’s Yard is a spot that is tucked away, intimately bohemian and seems to add that little bit extra to the experience you will have at Jacob the Angel.
This café is not ostentatious. It revels in a very old English aesthetic premised in the 17th Century that is both simple and austere and that commends itself with resonant historical charm.
The sibling duo behind the café, Layo and Zoe Paskin, are trying to revive a feel for an older more distinctive coffee experience that they feel is slowly dissipating.
This nostalgia does not influence what they serve.
In fact, Jacob the Angel serves their baked goods and coffee without any anxiety of influence and instead celebrates a freedom to experiment and explore.
On any given day, you can be trying anything from a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese on toast (£6.75, SGD12.22), to the ever-intriguing tahini madeleines (£2.25, SGD4.07), coconut cream pies (£3.95, SGD7.15) and fresh bagels (£5.50-6.75, SGD9.96 – 12.22).
The back of the café is filled with various food stuffs on display, servers in the midst of preparation, and is a sight you will only behold once you squeeze past all the people in conversation waiting for their coffee.
With my espresso (£2.50, SGD4.53) that came in a cute glass, I had a gorgeous date and cashew slice (£2.25) that was just nutty and sweet enough to balance the strength of the coffee.
At first you may think the portion is slightly small, but with it being so dense, the quantity can be deceiving.
I still had space enough to try a couple of crisp yet fluffy madeleines (£2.25, SGD4.07) that had a measured crumble and a light sweetness with a hint of tahini.
These are interesting flavours that seem inspired by the Middle East, which is in essence a big part of what Jacob the Angel stand for.
Jacob the Angel is a café that is quirky and adventurous. They have a tendency towards flare and a flexibility that is key when trying new things.
Go there to have a piece of this effervescence, and to enjoy a confection with some coffee in the prettiness of Neal’s Yard.
* Written by DFD’s London Food Correspondent Leander Dias SaltyCritic. Leander Dias was born and raised in Dubai, a burgeoning city with diverse food culture. Since moving to London to read for his English MA at UCL, he has utterly immersed himself in the local food scene, writing extensively about everything he eats everywhere he goes. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.