Let's start with our trip to The Dragon Cafe this afternoon. This wonderful new venture from The Mental Fight Club team pops up every Monday, from noon to 8pm, in the crypt of St George's church, opposite Borough tube station. It has been thoughtfully designed for Londoners who struggle with their mental health, providing a warm and welcoming place to come at the start of an otherwise difficult and stressful week. It offers cheap but tasty food, a seriously relaxed chill-out space, and a programme of free creative activities, well being workshops and so on. I was thoroughly impressed! Not exactly a baby-friendly hang-out (lots and lots of temporary AV equipment around), but after our 3 months at the Bethlem the boy and I are pretty hard to faze. I loved watching him roam around, delighting the other customers with his antics. We stayed for over three hours in total, and I even managed to enjoy a free fifteen minute neck and back massage. Wonderful! We had a bowl of delicious homemade soup, a generous fruit salad, and a large fluffy scone - all for the grand total of £3.75.
On to our evening engagement. My friend and former employer Bea (formerly Of Bloomsbury fame) was cooking up a storm over at a trendy coffee roasting house in Old Street. Technically this was one of Young and Foodish's regular "Burger Monday" pop-ups, but really it was Bea's chance to road test some ideas for her new American diner restaurant Stax, opening in the summer. Having enjoyed Bea's food immensely over the years my expectations were high. Thankfully we were not at all disappointed!
The evening started well when the boy decided to have a well-timed nap on the walk over, and we discovered Ozone was a surprisingly buggy-friendly venue with a little alcove for him to sleep. So we enjoyed our starters of extra buttery spicy popcorn in peace.
He woke up in time for the main event: hand ground and loosely packed burgers, with all the trimmings, including a proper onion blossom. For those who haven't spent any time in the American south, this is a whole onion, cut to resemble a blossoming flower, dipped in a rich, slightly spicy batter and deep fried til golden and crisp. Words cannot describe this heavenly concoction:
As if this wasnt enough, it was all rounded off with a famous "duffin" ice cream sundae. Amazing.
A productive Monday spent in research-mode, I reckon.