Whenever I’m on a break from school I try to make it into town for lunches, coffees and drinks with my friends who work in the city. It always feels quite fun to be out in the city amongst the workers – as a teacher my (delicious and much appreciated!) lunch is eaten at school, so getting out and about for a bite is always fun. Matthew, who has to get lunch every day, always thinks I’m barking when I tell him this. I’m sure if my lunch usually was queueing/Pret-agogo/meal deal bonanza I’d feel differently, but the novelty always makes me happy.
One friend who I always adore catching up with is the lovely Katy, insta-princess (the skills, you guys). So when she said she was free for lunch and fancied trying out a Danish spot, I was naturally on board. We met up at Piccadilly Circus, managed to avoid most of the tourist crush, and were soon at our destination, Ole & Steen.
Ole & Steen is a sleek and pretty bakery/cafe, with lots of seating and a cool, laid-back vibe. As we walked in the mix of clientele was a pleasure to see – Soho creatives next to grandmothers across from yummy mummies with their mega-pushchairs.
A quick aside on the mega-pushchairs – when did these contraptions get so enormous and tricky to handle? I used to babysit and nanny back in the day and buggies were, on the whole, delightfully manoeuvrable, easy to fold, and a godsend for stashing things in the bottom basket. I’m sure there are lots like that still but so many of them seem huge and difficult to use. I had to hold someone’s baby in the supermarket car park the other day while she did battle with her beast of a buggy – it took a good thirty seconds to a minute, a few murmured curses and no doubt a prayer or two for the thing to click together. What happened to pushchairs? As someone without kids I’m utterly confused – I’m sure my mummy friends will have gallons of wisdom on this and shall await further education.
Back to Ole & Steen.
The space is light and airy, with a mix of low tables, stools at bars, and plenty of solo and duo spots. When you order you walk along the display area where you can see an array of pretty open sandwiches and baked delights should you fancy a sweeter bite. I selected a Danish Blue open sandwich on rye, and Katy had boiled egg and avo on toast. All washed down with some smooth, satisfyingly rich coffee.
Ole & Steen is a nice, calm spot in the city, perfect for a catch-up lunch, a cup of coffee and a baked good, or to while away an hour with a good book. I’m definitely heading back for some cake action!
Ole & Steen
2 St. James’s Market,
Open Monday – Sunday