At first glance Damson and Co. may appear to be part of the never-ending café trend taking over London; dark wood, retro effects, cakes and sandwiches lining the counter. But on closer inspection there is much more care and attention packed into this cosy, foodie joint than the usual sourdough and cupcakes.
The menu changes depending on what time of the day you visit. Arrive before 4 and there’s delicious brunch on offer with cakes, eggs galore, sandwiches and porridge. Arrive later (as I did) and everything gets a little more sophisticated: smoked eggs, cured meats, cheeses and soused fish, all from these fair isles (or near enough anyway).
The ethos is firmly focused on showcasing and supporting the amazing produce from Britain. The selection of cheeses and meats is not overly extensive but bears the standard of a discerning palette. Divided into sections, soft, blue and hard (with a little blurring around the edges) some of the big names are present, such Bishop Stilton, Oxford Isis and an outrageously creamy Shorrocks Bomb. The charcuterie section borrows from continental techniques but blends with homegrown ingredients (cobnut saucisson or wild board chorizo anyone?) Soused fish (or ceviche as its better known) can also be found in a variety of flavours with a selection of liquors.
The obsession with British doesn’t stop at food. Damson also serve the best of English wines. Finally gaining some recognition for their hardwork, winemakers in this country are being noticed on the world stage. The owners are evidently keen and offer plenty of background information about the growing industry. Okay, so I reckon they could do more work on their reds but the whites are sharp and fruity. There is even a fizzy red from the Bolney Estate in Sussex for those looking for something a little different. Of course, it wouldn’t be British without a gin section, and all different varieties are covered and from boutique producers. If you are looking for something less alcoholic, coffee comes from the champion brewers, Ozone and there are a selection of fresh juices in inspiring flavours.
The space is intimate, housing around 20 hungry souls and in addition to the great food, the window seats just might be one of the most sought-after people watching spots in Soho. It may not offer a complete dinner menu, but this could just be a near perfect snack and drinks place after a day at work or a splurge at the shops. (Words: Laura Thornley)
Damson & Co is on 21 Brewer St London W1F 0RL For more info, visit: www.facebook.com/DamsonandCo