In London, we were blessed with crisp, sunny days over the weekend, and I took full advantage of the weather by setting out to explore some new-to-me areas. One thing that always makes me feel so lucky to live in London is that there is always something wonderful to discover: even though I’ve now been walking its streets for almost exactly 10 years, there are still so many hidden secrets I’ve yet to unearth.
One such hidden gem is Skittle Alley Coffee and Pantry, which has a slow food market in the courtyard outside its doors on Saturday mornings. This charming cafe is tucked away in an equally appealing pocket of Hammersmith. Mum and I walked along tranquil, pretty streets stretching just above the banks of the Thames, admiring the lovely neighbourhood with its many blue plaqued walls.
The cafe is situated behind the attractive The Black Lion pub, occupying a small, shed-like building that has been transformed into a particularly inviting space. There are shelves of homemade jams to tempt the eye (and stomach!), a long narrow communal table which welcomes striking up conversation with strangers (or there are plenty of books and papers to bury your nose into if you prefer) and delicious croissants and breads arranged attractively on a windowsill.
We managed to grab the two-seater bench and settled down happily to enjoy some exceedingly well made croissants, complete with butter and homemade jam, as well as coffee and tea. The Skittle Alley menu is simple: freshly squeezed, organic juice, tea, coffee, croissants, toast and muesli, but there is always so much enjoyment to be had from simple pleasures done exceedingly well, and this is exactly what the cafe offers.
The market in the courtyard outside is a real treat too, with several stalls offering a tempting display of freshly baked breads, cured meats, flowers, cakes and organic produce. I couldn’t resist picking up a delicious slice of rose and pistachio cake from the Nelipot Lane cake stall, as well as a bunch of flowers from the spectacular Little Lake Flower Company.
There is a great neighbourhood feel to the market: locals clearly visit on a regular basis, and many people knew each other, exchanging pleasantries over coffee in the cafe.
After making our purchases, we set off for a little stroll along the river, determined to enjoy as much of the sunshine as possible. I’m now fully embracing the spirit of autumn and couldn’t wait any longer to pull out my fall style staples: long leather boots and a leather jacket.
After our walk, we headed back for some lunch and a glass of wine at The Black Lion. Although our burgers were perfectly adequate, I couldn’t rave about the food, and I would in future suggest simply stocking up on yummy treats from the market and sticking to a drink at the pub. It was very pleasant to sit outside in their pretty courtyard, slowly sipping our wine and people watching. I even recognised an old acquaintance I hadn’t seen for years and enjoyed having a quick catch up. That’s thing about London: despite its size, you always seem to run into someone you know!
Have you been to the Skittle Alley Cafe and Market before? Do you have any other hidden treasures of Hammersmith you could suggest?
Skittle Alley Coffee and Pantry
South Black Lion Lane
Monday-Friday: 8.30am – 12pm
Saturday: 9am – 1pm
Slow Food Market
Every Saturday, 9am – 1pm