I've written before about how one of the nicest things about having a blog is the opportunities it creates for meeting like-minded people. So when Jess of Knitting on Trains mentioned that she lived in my neck-of-the-woods and wondered whether I'd like to meet up for afternoon tea I jumped at the chance. I was really keen to re-visit a café I'd had lunch at a few months ago - especially as I'd spent much of the meal looking longingly at their rather good-looking cake selection.
Anderson & Co is on the increasingly posh Bellenden Road in Peckham. Yes, I realise this might come as a surprise to some of you but Peckham has a posh bit. Every time I cycle there some chi-chi new shop has opened. It really is very nice (and in typical London fashion already ruinously expensive). Anderson & Co is one of those places that lets you know that you're a long way from Morrisons and the ubiquitous hair salons and nail bars of the high street.
It looks very light and bright and, I think, has a rather Scandinavian feel with its white and pale grey colour scheme and its counter clad in rough-hewn bits of tree branches. They offer a selection of all-day breakfast items like scrambled eggs served in various ways and a really delicious creamy mushroom dish served on sourdough toast, along with lots of other really good looking lunch options. They've even started opening for dinner a couple of days a week. But this visit was all about the cake.
Jess chose the intriguing sounding Courgette Cake and I couldn't resist the absolutely beautiful looking Red Velvet layer cake. In all honesty it was a slightly odd choice for me as they are not usually one of my favourites but I really am a sucker for a pretty-looking cake. Anyhow, Jess had chosen what would have been my other choice and I was secretly banking on her allowing me to try a bite (forward for a first meeting I know but we've known each other online for years...). To drink I took the extremely controversial step of having a coffee. I know, I know, what is the name of this bloomin' blog? But in my defence I spotted the Square Mile coffee and I hadn't had one so far that day so it felt reasonable. I did notice they had Tea Pigs tea which it a good thing in my book (not quite as good as top-quality loose leaves but way better than most soggy old teabags).
Firstly, let me say that the decaf latte I ordered was a very good choice. Perfectly made with tiny bubbles of air distributed throughout the milk and none of that airy foam that does nothing except sit there when you've finished the rest of the drink. Jess confirmed that, unsurprisingly, her "proper" latte was equally good.
And the cakes didn't disappoint either. The Red Velvet had that lovely subtle cream cheese taste and just the merest hint of vanilla. Nice as it was though, I confirmed to myself that they really aren't one of my favourite cakes and I should stop ordering them based on how pretty they look. I'm not sure what it is but they somehow just aren't quite enough of anything for my taste. The Courgette cake on the other hand was the thing I should have ordered. Similar in texture to a carrot cake with a tart lime-flavoured cream cheese frosting and chopped pistachios on top: it really was delicious. (As you have probably gathered Jess was kind enough to offer me a taste!) The cakes are all homemade and it shows. Pretty, but not in a mass-produced way and properly tasty these were like the kind of treats you would make at home if you had the time, inclination and baking skills.
It's hard to put my finger on it but there's just something I really like about Anderson & Co. It could be the laid back vibe or the bright and airy interior; but most likely it's the locally-sourced and delicious food. It sort of offers a lot of what I look for in a café and it's a ten minute bike ride from home. As many of you know I really love a place that feels like an old-fashioned afternoon tea spot and that's certainly not the vibe here. But the simple, uncomplicated atmosphere and quality cakes are something I can see myself heading back for again and again.