Ginger and White have second guessed your every preference. This is cafe culture at it’s best and no doubt one of the new hubs in Hampstead.
Down one of the prettiest streets in Hampstead, Perrins Court is the perfect pedestrianised setting for this cafe. Ginger and White is the product of a skilled team who have pooled their collective experience in restaurants, restaurant consultancy, food styling and a love of local delicacies to create their very own. Ginger and White is stylish in its every detail, from the pale Union Jack canvas hanging on the wall, the egg cups behind the counter, and Marmite jars along the window bench, to the battered leather sofa in the back corner. The full length window, whitewashed walls and high ceiling make the most of the small space; the main room is dominated by a shared wooden breakfast table complete with jams and newspapers and low hanging, industrial-chic lighting. Immaculate and pristine, the carefully engineered retro touches are subtle enough to work.
Staff wear a relaxed uniform of black T-shirts, jeans and blue and white aprons; happy to recommend or just chat, they seem to be building up good relationships with the local customer base. Packed at weekday lunchtimes, Ginger and White also has a few tables under the outdoor awning if the weather’s nice enough to eat al fresco. Jazz plays unobtrusively in the background, another detail smoothly taken care of. Whether you’re here to use the Wi-Fi, read a book, catch up with a friend or just fancy popping in as you pass, the easy atmosphere makes it tempting to stay.
The counter is laden with food and the options are carefully selected to make up a choice menu. Prices are high but they match the affluence of the area and once you taste the quality you can excuse a few extra pennies. Ingredients are well sourced, with breads baked by The Flour Station and Flourish, cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy and meat from Northfield Farm and Wicks Manor.
Breakfast is served all day if you want it – boiled eggs and soldiers (£4.50), bacon bap (£3.50) or granola and yoghurt (£3.95) all feature. Five sandwiches provide the lunchtime menu, with ingredients selected to set them apart from what you (or a boring high street chain) would knock up the kitchen. Salt beef (£5.25) is popular – meltingly soft meat, with a sweet and sour balance of cucumber pickle and a sweet mustard ketchup. Toasting the caraway bread sandwiches the tastes together in a warm, flattened package, light rather than the uncomfortable doorstop loaves which never sit well in the middle of the day. Two salads (£4.95) change each day, one vegetarian and one meat option packed full of colour – options include choices like pea, mint and feta or red rice and smoked ham. With the clean white crockery and wooden handled cutlery, there are no extra flourishes and none are needed. Simple, unfussy presentation is the only accompaniment you’d want.
Cakes are baked by friends and neighbours and displayed on tiered stands. Not that there’s a hierarchy with so many good options – cupcakes, muffins, brownies, pastries and loaves (including a gluten free clementine and almond cake).The carrot cake (£3.70) tastes like Christmas with a hint of mixed spice running through the crumbly, moist, sultana-dotted sponge. A thin layer of creamy frosting sandwiches the middle and decorates the top in retro piped splodges, adding home-made authenticity. Despite being a massive slice it’s light enough to polish off without trying too hard.
Brewing under the slogan We don’t do Grande, this self-proclaimed British cafe (with a little Aussie influence) gets its beans from London roastery Square Mile. A good measure of espresso (£1.70) served in an earthenware cup is frothed perfectly, the summer blend rich with a slight sweet nuttiness. A flat white (£2.30) is a much nicer way to appreciate the coffee than the lattes and cups of milk to which our palates have become accustomed. Montezuma’s Chocolate, mocha or a pot of Jing tea are the other hot alternatives, chalked onto a blackboard behind the counter. Bottled or freshly squeezed juices are on offer too, or help yourself to a glass of water from the ceramic jugs.
The Last Word
If you’re not a North Londoner, Ginger and White will make you wish you were.