- Food & Drink
In the race to be the sleekest, chicest department store in London, Fenwick’s is the dyspraxic fat kid that landed face down 2 metres into the hurdles. While Selfridges sauces it up on Oxford Street and Harrods bawds its wares in Knightsbridge, Fenwick’s perches on New Bond Street like a nervous divorcée who’s decided to re-enter the dating world via the group room at a swinger’s party.
It may be scrubbed, scented and trimmed with feathers, but there’s ever-so-slightly the sense that it wishes you would keep your paws off its nice bits.
All of which means it’s excellent for shopping in, if fascinators and foundation that gives you a dewy glow is your thing. Riffling the rails in Fenwick’s is the antithesis of a Primark bull run. My dining companion, who knows London’s big shops like I know the spirits section in Sainsbury’s, tells me Fenwick’s clientele are very loyal. Breezing through the gently chilled, kindly lit shopfloor on our way up to The Affogato Bar, I could understand why.
We’d been invited to have an afterwork affogato at Fenwick by a PR, who’d noticed my affection for coffee and seemingly predicted the warm weather, too. If ever there was a week for cooling your caffeine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s this one.
The Bar is tucked in a corner of the third floor, a scattering of chairs and stools around a curved counter topped with a coffee machine and plates of tiny cakes. The menu is short, simple and unlikely to leave grease stains on your new dress. There are 3 savoury dishes for ladies who like to lunch light and a collection of pastries, fondant fancies and desserts for those me-time moments a fashion frenzy can induce.
I had a plate of Parma ham, mozzarella and fig, while my friend (who had a date with a burger later) contented herself with a coupe of champagne. Coupes are by far the best glasses in the world and it’s a shame I don’t spend more time drinking champagne out of them.
As it was near closing time, we helped the waitress out by eating the last of the fondant fancies and chocolate teacakes. Sweet, squidgy and, in the case of the raspberry teacake, shockingly pink, these teeny bakes would be perfect with a shot of espresso. Except we were already having ours with ice cream.
The coffee is dark, roasted midnight black and not the kind of espresso I’d like to drink by itself (I’m a lighter roast kind of a girl), but added to a ball of sweet dairy it mellows out and offers an earthy contrast to the airy ice cream. Affogato is a simple trick, but one that is worth repeating all summer.