Beani Bar, Torrington Place, Bloomsbury

Visited: Saturday 30th October 2010; Last visited: Wednesday 5th January 2011

Interior: Beani bar has been very smartly decorated. While clearly brand new, it has a pleasant ‘Italian coffee bar’ retro feel with stylish red and black vinyl chairs, tiles and formica tables. The red chairs are particularly-comfy looking, but since they are at the big table by the door, and I was on my own, I thought I’d skulk away from the draft. Unfortunately the pleasant interior was not matched by the welcome, which was as grumpy as you like. For some reason I think lemon-sucking service is worse when it comes from young, attractive women than from middle-aged men and women. I’ve never had an unfriendly welcome from a young man.

Food: I just had a  mug of tea today and was pleased that it was a proper mug, a strong teabag and it was left in (although next time I’ll ask for just a dash of milk, and might get slightly less than a half tea : half milk ratio). The menu is sandwich bar rather than caff (including some lovely looking pre-prepared omelettes – very south beach diet!) but you can get a full breakfast and an egg or bacon roll. The eponymous beans are of the coffee kind, but beans on toast also appear on the menu.

This one is open on Saturdays and not far from University, so I’ll give it another try, but it will be the last chance unless the staff crack a few smiles and stop making us feel like we’re ruining their day by trying to buy a cup of tea from them.

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