Lunch at L’Artiste Muscle and Coffee at Brasserie Al Hamra

Today, my lunchtime excursion was a two-parter. I stared with soup and salad at L’Artiste Muscle on Shepherd St. and went for a cappuccino at Brasserie Al Hamra, the quiet little coffee shop I’ve been to a few times already.

At L’Artiste Muscle, I was shown to a table that I practically had to hold my breath to get into — it was in a tight corner or windows and walls and next to a table to four. I ordered the soup of the day, parsnip carrot, and a small green salad. The soup was decent, but unexciting. It was a bit thick, and there was too much parsley on top. The salad at first seemed to be OK, but once I got past the top layer, I realized it was absolutely drenched in a mustardy dressing. I couldn’t each much of the bottom half. I was also a bit puzzled that my soup and salad didn’t come with any bread — it was listed on the menu at £2.50, which seemed a bit excessive, since I only wanted a roll.

I was surprised because the place was filled with respectable-looking businesspeople and every time the waiters would bring plates out to other tables, I wondered what was being served because the dishes looked quite good, especially the bigger salads. I might go back to try something else, and it’s also a wine bar, though not knowing much about French wines I don’t have much to say about their list without having tasted anything.

I decided not to get coffee at the restaurant and went over to Brasserie Al Hamra, which I knew was quiet and comfortable. It’s also impeccably clean. Today was the first time I’d been in there when there had been other customers, and it was nice to see them getting some business. I still haven’t tried any of their food, though. I also took some pictures, which I’d been meaning to do since I first went in there, since the place is quite cute, with its fields-and-clouds murals, skylight and fireplaces. It also has a nice big flatscreen TV tuned into BBC news.

Brasserie Al HamraBrasserie Al Hamra

I also have a new post on Londonist for the day: “Diggers, Sledgehammers and Angle Grinders, Oh My!

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