To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published December 4th 2012
How many different types of coffee would you like to try?
Harris and Hoole is a new chain of cafes that is gradually springing up in and around London. There are little clusters of shops in The Chilterns, West London, North London and South West London. My local branch opened in Pinner last week and is one of the three West London shops.
The enterprise was devised by three siblings who wish to bring top quality coffee to the high street. The name derives from Samuel Pepys, whose 3 February 1664 diary entry describes a visit to the great Covent Garden coffee house frequented by 'Harris the player, and Mr Hoole of our College'.
Inside Harris and Hoole
Angga, the manager of the Pinner branch, gave me a little bit of background to the operation. Each shop tries to imprint its own distinct style and also to engage with the local community. My local is painted in shades of grey, with wooden floors, and the style is open plan so that customers can see the coffee, and other hot drinks, being made. The idea is to give a homely feel, where all ages are welcome. There is an area suitable for buggies and small children, where toys are included. You can find shelves with books, and there are two large blackboards on the walls. One is a community diary, and anybody is welcome to chalk dates up for all to see. There is also a community board, so that local events can be publicised. And it goes without saying that free Wi-Fi is available too.
Harris and Hoole: Part of the Local Community
As well as the usual tables and chairs, there are leather sofas and armchairs for relaxing if you're not in too much of a hurry. Snacks are available: muffins and croissants for breakfast, filled focaccias and hot soup for lunch. The food is freshly prepared at the group's kitchen in Amersham and delivered to the branches early in the morning. Coffee is available in all its many forms, and prepared with full fat milk (because it tastes a little sweeter and is a healthy option), but you could choose soya milk too. And the baristas are all dab hands at putting patterns in the milk. If you have a sweet tooth, Kilner jars of Demerara sugar are available on all the tables. If coffee doesn't float your boat there is a choice of loose leaf teas, served by the pot, with timers to let you know when they are sufficiently brewed and ready to drink.
Mr Harris and Mr Hoole may no longer be around, but you could find the same witty and pleasant discourse in your local coffee shop that Pepys encountered in Covent Garden.
Very disappointing ! I went in with a friend, ordered a tea and a coffee and my tea arrived with a blond hair stuck to the spoon! I don’t take sugar so did not see straight away. We took the spook and hair back to the counter and showed to the young lady there. She took it showed to her other 2 colleagues and all burst into a loud laugh. We stared in astonishment waiting for an apology and an offer to replace the spook. We were just shocked! On leaving we asked them where was their apology or what was it so funny about giving a dirty spoon to a customer. They were speechless. They showed no customer services skills, no manners…. It was unbelievable. Does H+H no train their staff? Who do they employ to have in front of customers?
Not only I will not go back but I will not recommend this place to anybody. It is just not acceptable!