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Café Boheme

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published November 2nd 2010
Ok, so it's more faux boho than actual boho, but Café Boheme is properly French, despite its location on the corner of Old Compton Street – once called the most sexually charged road in Great Britain. It's the food and drinks that do it but it's also the décor; lots of dark wood and booths in dark leather dimly lit against tiny white tiles - that make it noisy and bustle-ly, and the outdoor seating that faces the street - which is often full even when the weather is appalling and there's a good chance that people passing are going to drip rain off their umbrellas into your food.

The food, drinks, and selection of cocktail add to the French-ness of course, though with a few friendly nods to English and American palates – meaning there's a burger on the menu, called: hamburger "à cheval". There's also classics like French onion soup, moules marinière, steak tartare, hot smoked salmon Lyonnaise, coq au vin and steak frites.

The wine is served in nice, flat glasses, like the ones you see in Parisian cafes, and there's tipples from all over France. The cocktails are as classic as the food menu, but you should find your favourites among them. If you're just having a drink there's a small section of bar to sit at where you can people watch inside.

Breakfast and brunch here are also good: crepes, omelettes, French toast, bacon baps, fruit and granola, or, another nod to the English, a full English – it's open from 8am to 2:45 the following am.

Even the outside of the restaurant has an Art Nouveau edge to it, with curling flat metal decorations reminiscent of Paris's wonderful old Metro signs.
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Why? Inside where it's dim, warm and close Toulouse Lautrec would feel at home, but outside there's the chance to be a flaneur – even if it is a little risky for the weather.
When: Virtually any time
Where: 13-17 Old Compton Street London W1 5JQ, nearest station Leicester Square
Cost: £10 for breakfast, approx. $20 for lunch and about £30 for dinner.
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