This first Saturday Short comes courtesy of Look Mum No Hands!, something of a legend on the London coffee scene, if only for its interesting name (it’s up there with Bristol’s Didn’t You Do Well in those stakes). I’ve long wanted to try it out, but have never had the time/reason/excuse.
So, imagine my surprise and delight when, on a whim, I decided to walk across the Hungerford Bridge (which connects Waterloo and Charing Cross Stations) on the Parliament rather than the St Paul’s side. Cutting across to the other side of the bridge I spotted an interesting-looking coffee stall nestling under the bridge itself… And the rest, as they say, is history…
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Combining a passion for coffee and cycling, Look Mum No Hands!, which is out in Shoreditch on Old Street, has long intrigued me. So I was delighted to discover that it’s behind a new pop-up coffee stall that I’d heard about on the South Bank, particularly as I stumbled upon it by accident one Wednesday lunchtime.
Although this is a pop-up, don’t let that fool you: this is almost a full-on coffee shop. Featuring a trailer/caravan with a very large, purpose-built counter, a stand-up bar and tables at the side, and an espresso machine mounted on smaller trailer on the other side, it would put many full cafés to shame! Since it’s right under the bridge itself, it’s fully under cover, making it perfect even on a rainy day.
The pop-up serves an impressive array of goodies. There’s a full range of espresso-based drinks (alas, only in takeaway cups; don’t be fooled by the pictures in the gallery) as well as tea (builders’ or posh!) and hot chocolate. Even more impressively, there’s London-brewed craft beer: in all, six draught and five bottled beers are on offer.
If you’re hungry, there are sausage rolls and scotch eggs (including a vegetarian one) and a truly impressive range of cakes. When I was there, there was a special offer; a free nata (Portuguese custard tart) with every cup of coffee bought. Since the natas normally go for £2, this was very generous and not something that happens every day. Count yourself lucky if it’s running when you’re there!
Look Mum No Hands! uses Square Mile’s Red Brick espresso blend, which I approached with some caution, given my past struggles with it. I plumped for a flat white, knowing it goes well with milk, which was made by the excellent Sara. She also made me an espresso in one of Look Mum No Hands! lovely cups, as well as talking me through the perils of making espresso in something akin to a wind-tunnel! The espresso was intended purely for photographic purposes, but I ended up drinking it anyway! The flat white was excellent and I even enjoyed the espresso. Maybe my palette is finally starting to appreciate third-wave espresso!
The Look Mum No Hands! popup is a very welcome addition to the South Bank coffee scene, especially since it’s open late, seven days a week. The good news is that it’s now become a permanent fixture, popping up each summer. You can see what I made of it when it came back again in 2014 and most recently in its 2016 incarnation.
|QUEEN’S WALK • UNDER HUNGERFORD BRIDGE • SOUTHBANK CENTRE • LONDON • SE1 8XX|
|www.lookmumnohands.com||+44 (0) 7763 938078|
|Monday||10:00 – 23:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 23:00||Seating||Bar (Standing), Benches and Tables|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 23:00||Food||Cake, Hot Dogs|
|Thursday||10:00 – 23:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 23:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||10:00 – 23:00||Wifi||N/A|
|Sunday||10:00 – 23:00||Power||N/A|
|Chain||Local||Visits||Original: 12th June 2013|
|Updates: 8th June 2014, 28th May 2016|
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