Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Andor Bureau (Mare Street) - movie, gallery, letter writing. Yep, you read that right


Andor Bureau
Address: 3 Mare Street
London E8 4RP
Tel: 020 8986 3807
London enjoyed quite a fair bit of sunshine of late. Someone told me that London has only one day of summer per year. They are wrong - there are at least three this year. After spending decades on a tropical isle with an almost searing temperature of thirty odd degrees Celsius, you might think that I should easily adapt to the 28C that hit London a couple of days back. Nope, I am sweating and swearing under my breath like anyone else on the Tube that day.

However, the truth is London doesn't get a lot of days like these and when one comes along, people tend to do dumb things. Like swimming in Regents Canal or walking from Angel Islington to Brethnal Green along Regents Canal. I'm not guilty of the former but I did see some chaps whipping their shirts off and jumping into the canal totally oblivious of the thick clumps of weed mere metres from them. A friend volunteered to clean up that stretch once and you would never guess what she dredged up. Suffice to say that I will never ever dip my toes into the canal.


That said, I felt a bit adventurous and walked along that stretch to Brethnal Green and only because of The Corner Room at Town Hall Hotel. The allure of food, especially good food, does drive me to do the unthinkable. Now, the thing about such long strolls (an hour or so) under the blistering sun, not to mention the near tropical humidity, requires frequent hydrating. Even after getting a drink at Towpath Cafe, we were relieve to find a place to rest our feet at Andor Bureau along Mare Street.


It was just after lunch when we stumbled into Andor Bureau but they seemed to have ran out of pretty much everything save for a basket of croissants and a slice of apple tart. We ended up for a pot of tea, which was decently priced at £2. Other than an eclectic mix of wooden benches and chairs (which could very well be sourced from a number of garage sales), there is a large space towards the back of the store with nothing but a small CRT TV that was playing a loop pencil drawing sequence (think Tate Modern).

We made the mistake of asking the lady behind the coffee counter whether Andor Bureau is still undergoing renovation. No was the answer. As it turns out, Andor Bureau has been up and running for around three weeks. And what you see is what you get, this is it. From the pamphlets lying next to the window, we realise that Andor Bureau also runs a "Letter Lounge" on certain Sundays where people can just drop in to socialise and perhaps write a letter or two. From a single piece of paper careless pasted onto a wooden board, it seems that Andor Bureau is also doing a movie night on some Wednesdays screening the likes of Back to the Future 2 and The Killing.


The surprises just kept on coming. Given the quirky nature of Andor Bureau, I wouldn't bat an eyelid even if my tea come in translucent plastic cups. Instead, they come in dainty teacups (with saucers no less!) that The Tea Rooms at Stoke Newington would be proud of.

If you are in the area and looking for a place to chill, Andor Bureau's your port of call. You can't miss it for it's the first cafe that you'll see if you were to walk up from Regents Canal. Just look out for a corner shop with a half finished facade.

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