I do love a stop in a quirky café to break up a day of heavy sightseeing, and I found two great examples in Budapest and London this Summer. One’s a former Victorian underground public toilet, and the other’s a newly-opened vintage-inspired all-day-breakfast hang out, but picking a winner is a tough call.
Zoska is located right near the bustling Astoria intersection in central Budapest, but tucked away from the chaos in a quieter street that leads to the Károlyi kert park, surrounding which are a number of edgy cafés and vintage-y shops. It’s a cool area and Zoska suits its location, halfway between the two, perfectly.
It’s airy and light, but maintains a cosy lounge feel. The design is vintage-inspired, yet fresh and clean. They serve classic American-style breakfasts and fresh salads and sandwiches for lunch; a coffee, a beer, or a homemade lemonade. It’s the perfect place to do as Zoe and I did; chill out, catch up and write postcards.
As far as edgy locations are concerned though, an 1890 public bathroom, complete with original porcelain urinals, is about as quirky as you’re going to get. Add a high-quality selection of drinks, snacks and fresh light lunches to the mix, and you’re really onto a winner. No wonder it was the Runner Up Best Coffee Shop in London in 2013, and has garnered attention from around the world. I just hope they’ve given it a good clean.
Fran and I fell in love with the place (all the more so due to their choice of music; the ABBA Greatest Hits!) and we were won over by the atmosphere, the coffee, the tea, and the friendliness of the staff. No phone signal down there though, which made arranging to meet up with another friend a little inconvenient!
It must be said, London and Budapest are two of my favourite capital cities, with endless coffee-and-cake possibilities, but these two side-street options are strong contenders for the coolest, quirkiest hang out in town.
As for a winner? I’m gonna say The Attendant for location and interiors and Zoska for comfort, The Attendant for a quick coffee stop and Zoska for putting your feet up, The Attendant as the best hideaway during the Winter and Zoska as the best stop for a refreshing Summer drink. Verdict? Undecided.
Ferenczy István utca 28
26-27 Foley Street
London W1W 6DY