Yumchaa, Parkway, Camden

It’s bright, bold and, at times, downright obnoxious. Camden presents a bewildering hotchpotch of in-your-face alternative stores and markets.

When fighting your way through hordes of dreadlocked tourists while being deafened by dance music pumping out of shops selling clothes that look like they come from outer space, you may wonder what the devil you’re doing there.

To add insult to injury, it’s notoriously difficult to find a decent place to eat and nigh-on impossible to find a quiet place to sit.

At least that’s how I felt, until I found Yumchaa on Parkway, a delectable little tea shop nestling in among the punks and trashy souveneirs.

Housed in an old shop emblazoned with an ancient sign advertising “Palmer’s Talking Parrots”, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past. A modest chalkboard on the pavement gives away the gem of a café that lies inside.

Exterior

Exterior

Walking through the door I was struck by the size of the room. Table after table litters the brightly lit space – each unique but all of a decent size.

The walls are a mix of exposed brickwork and mismatched wallpaper. The result is more elegant and effortless than try hard.  

On the counter I managed to resist the seemingly endless trays of cakes and pastries and headed straight for the tea. I counted 34 different types, all displayed in tiny cups waiting to be smelt. The fabulous assortment was split into four groups: red, green, black and white.

My powers of decisiveness failed miserably and I asked for a recommendation. The friendly, helpful girl at the counter steered me towards ‘Notting Hill’, a fruity blend of black tea.

Taking my seat in one of the beautifully sanded-down chairs I couldn’t quite contain my delight. The sun was streaming in from the vast Victorian skylight window, my tea was a peach and raspberry blend of deliciousness, and my laptop sprung into life with an injection of super-fast WiFi.  

I know where I’ll choose for a chilled-out catch up with colleagues when we next find ourselves in Camden…

The Suitometer: Londonlovesbusiness.com’s quick guide to sleeping and dining in the capital.

Would lunch at Yumchaa….

  • Inspire a productive business meeting? Absolutely. A spacious venue with free WiFi and big sturdy tables.
  • Impress the boss when everything else has failed? No, unless your boss is a fair trade enthusiast with a penchant for exciting teas and lovely muffins.
  • Break the ice with those awkward clients? Perhaps. It’s a little too casual though.
  • Sufficiently blow your bonus and make you feel like a king? No. It’s cheap and cheerful and doesn’t serve Dom Perignon.
  • Provide the right setting for an all-important first date? Herbal tea and sandwiches don’t make for the most seductive of menus.

 

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