Friday, October 16, 2015

The Best Pick-Me-Up Lunch @ Free Range People, Neal's Yard, Covent Garden


A bit of a departure from my usual "Have a good weekend" posts, but I found this great little place yesterday and just had to share! It's funny how delicious food and a change of scenery can instantly boost your mood. And after the week I've had (the fraud stuff was still plaguing me yesterday, after I spent an hour on the phone to my bank at 6:00 a.m. yesterday in tears)? I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch. Instead of heading to our usual Pret, where we sit in the basement and intensely re-hash our work morning over Diet Cokes and uninspiring salads, Caroline and I stopped into Neal's Yard in Covent Garden, hoping to get a table at Homeslice (possibly my favorite place for pizza in London).

Of course, Homeslice was full and I didn't feel like having porridge (the UK equivalent of oatmeal) for lunch at 26 Grains (although I might be singing a different tune come winter) so we grabbed a seat in Free Range People - a new cafe serving Monmouth Coffee and an array of freshly-baked, scrumptious pastries and sandwiches with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it unassuming exterior.

Inside, a couple of lone freelancers looked up blankly as we walked in, Macbooks plugged in and flat whites by their sides. We decided to have a no-holds-barred kind of lunch, both ogling the selection of cakes (the plum tart looked enticing but I bullied Caroline into the Bakewell instead - my favorite) and the sandwiches (we went for the chicken, spinach, and pesto).

"I kind of feel like having hot chocolate," Caroline said, and I agreed. It'd recently turned cold outside and a hot chocolate at lunch seemed like the perfect treat.

I'm so glad I grabbed that hot chocolate because it was one of the best I've had in a long while. Instead of powdery, bitter tasting chocolate mix that pools in a horrible clump of gunk at the bottom of your cup (hi, Pret!), this tasted like real, thick drinking chocolate - properly mixed into a steaming hot cup of milk. The kind of hot chocolate someone would make in a pot over the stove.

So we sat and chatted about leather backpacks instead of work, and this was our view:


I've forgotten how pretty and bright and colorful Neal's Yard is. These days, unless I'm angling for an early seat at Homeslice, I tend to avoid it because, well, when you've worked in the same area for 8 years, you forget the magic of simply wandering and tend to head straight for places that are a part of your routine.

After our lovely lunch, we stopped into Neal's Yard Remedies for a quick browse before heading back to the office. But instead of feeling weighed down, or sleepy, or restless (which I often feel after lunch), I felt energized, more awake, and ... generally happier.

So. My advice? Treat yourself to that occasional nice lunch in that nice little area you forget about. It's so worth it.

And ... happy Friday!

Free Range People Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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20 comments

  1. Sometimes, it just has to be done!

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    1. IT DOES, Emma! Hope you feel better soon xx

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  2. Sometimes, it just has to be done!

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  3. I love Neal's Yard. Have you tried Wild Food Cafe? That's very cute too xx

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    1. Wild Food Cafe is the best, Angie! Haven't been there in ages but I do love it xxx

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  4. Hope everything gets sorted wit the bank soon lovely - that's an awful thing to have happen to you! Looks like you found an absolute gem of a lunch spot though; so glad to hear you felt better after it :) Mum always did tell me that hot chocolate has healing powers!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

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    1. Thanks, sweets - yes, it definitely cheered me up! xx

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  5. Chicken, Spinach & Pesto is a killer combo! Love the look of this place, great find!

    Lauren x www.ellebloggs.com

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    1. It totally is, Lauren! Thanks for dropping by to read! xo

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  6. Good work on treating yourself - it looks lovely!

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  7. That looks like a delicious lunch! I do so hope your fraud/theft problems are resolved quickly.

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    1. It was, Ruth! And it seems like my bank has sorted things ... I'm still keeping a paranoid eye out though! So scary.

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  8. Neal's Yard is such a pretty spot. And you totally deserved that hot chocolate! :)

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    1. It is, Charlotte! Next time you're here, you'll have to try the hot chocolate - it's delicious!

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  9. Do you know what else is a treat? Reading a post about a cafe that isn't sponsored. [I know there's a place for sponsored posts, but it's possible that, after visiting 136 blogs in the last 30 days, I'm a little jaded ...]

    I really enjoyed wandering with you and dropping in for a 'real' lunch. :-)

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    1. Haha, I know what you mean, Julie! I try to keep a healthy mix of both ... I love eating out and trying new restaurants and sometimes I'm very lucky to be invited to do just that! But other times, it's nice to recommend a place I happened to stumble across on my own, like this one! Thanks so much for dropping by to read!

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  10. I love the post! Have a nice weekend:)

    irenethayer.com

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  11. I'm always really amazed at how hard it is to find a great top notch hot chocolate and it's so frustrating to pay a huge premium for something that comes straight out of a packet so thanks for the tip! We all need comforting indulgent drink at lunch time once in a while ☺

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