This is the second Half Cup in London. The first, in Kings Cross, opened in 2014 and is very popular. I’ve popped in a couple of time when I’ve been waiting for a train because it is only a very short walk from the station but a million miles away from the concourse congestion.
Our new Half Cup is in the new Bartholomew Square development (down to the Doctors’ and keep on walking past the bend), triangulated by LINO and Stem+Glory. The area is becoming a pleasant eating-out destination, virtually devoid of traffic.
My only lament is that we couldn’t sit outside. The promises of outside pavement eateries in the Barts Square sales brochure haven’t materialised to match the dream images. LINO has managed to get some outside seating and the area outside Half Cup (being much more out of any pathways) was just ‘made’ for leisurely, social alfresco drinks and dining, so hopefully, there will be some outside seating when the development is all over. In the meantime, we can cope quite happily with the massive open doors ajar on the square.
Inside looking out
From the outside and from the name, you’d think Half Cup was just a coffee place and – to be fair – Half Cup does have exciting coffees (especially the special lattes) and a long term relationship with Nude coffee roasters whose home is just around the corner in Shoreditch (https://www.nudeespresso.com/). It warms the cockles of my heart to shop local.
There is plenty of comfortable seating in the airy greenhouse-like restaurant which wraps around one quarter of the square. The full-length windows offer a voyeur’s paradise – I could have sat there for hours and just enjoyed the goings on outside wash over me – Half Cup is the sort of place that you can do that comfortably and not feel hurried or harried. The spotlessly clean and peaceful interior is splattered with greenery and has a very relaxed vibe about it.
Even though I’m grateful that Half Cup have brought along their celebrated Brunch menu with them from Kings Cross, tonight we are here for a light early supper. The menu is small but still offers plenty of choice including gluten free and vegan. The owners say they will grow the menu to our tastes by adding some larger main courses so let them know your likes when you visit.
I was verily tempted by the red smoothie (berries, coconut and chocolate) and yellow smoothie (mango, pineapple, orange, passionfruit and turmeric), but we stayed well away from the wagon and started with a beer and an iced coffee cocktail.
Nude Expresso Martini £7
We decided on a few plates as tasters and chose a chicken burger, tomato bruschetta (always a favourite of mine), the lamb kofta (because I’m trying to be as low-carb as my weak willpower allows) and our host recommended the popular Pea & Pancetta Croquettes, so we tried those too.
The beautiful Heritage Tomato Bruschetta was served on lightly toasted garlic sourdough and accompanied by a (thankfully) mild goat’s curd, all drizzled with basil oil for a very reasonable £7. This is posh tomatoes on toast at its best and a meal all by itself.
The Lamb Kofta (again, a very reasonable £7) was served with minted yoghurt, parsley & red onion. Delicately spiced and full of flavor, the photo honestly belies the taste.
The Chicken Schnitzel Burger (a sit down burger for £8 !) was certainly a handful and definitely a winner and was served with sriracha (a type of hot chili sauce) and lime mayo and seasonal coleslaw.
Pea & Pancetta Croquettes £6.50
I could understand why the croquettes were so popular. They are not something that I would have been drawn to, but they’d be top of my list next visit. The finely chopped mixture inside is not as salty as I was expecting – which worked well for me). The crisped crust was very moreish, though, so beware. Note that a normal serving size is 3 portions, but we asked for 2 just so that we could sample – served with truffle mayonnaise and parmesan shavings, who can complain at a very shareable £6.50. Just make sure there are 3 of you, though, or you may come to blows of the 3rd croquette.
We finished off with a vegan dessert. Note the two spoons! We could have polished off one each, but let’s try some semblance of control here! Well worth a try if you are craving chocolate but don’t want to go too deep and dark.
Chai Infused Chocolate Pot served with oatly crème fraiche and smoked almonds £6.50
To top a most relaxed and pleasant supper, we appreciated the Nude Espresso quality coffee and headed home. It really is great coffee!
It really is great coffee!
Half Cup Barts Square
22-23 Bartholomew Close, London, EC1A 7BB
Open all day from breakfast through to evenings – Mon-Fri 8am-7pm / Sat 9am-4pm / Sun 10am-4pm
Last orders for Brunch 3.30pm & Lunch orders 12pm- 6pm