Address: 198 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UN
Nearest Station: Sloane Square
Tel.: 020 7730 5522
Good For: Friendly conversation, Loitering over drinks, Quiet meal, Ladies lunching, Sinful snacks
After a more than satisfying brunch at the Ideal Café (greasy spoon much-frequented by local cabbies; their portions are hearty and the prices happy), me and my companion were looking for a hot drink over which we could have a little wind-down and continue our afternoon of chatting. Our mutual friend had pointed us in the direction of this place that does “pretty amazing hot chocolate”, which sounded absolutely perfect for an Arctic-like October Sunday.
William Curley, the location of this “pretty amazing hot chocolate”, is not just a café – it’s a chocolate emporium. A counter filled with truffles of varied and bedazzling flavours (wasabi-infused chocolate, anyone?) awaits the curious shopper, whilst the shelves are filled with more sinful-looking slabs of fine chocolate. However, when prompted by the counter girl if we needed any help, my companion went straight to the point and said that we’d heard about their hot chocolate. To see her face immediately light up with a smile was a very encouraging. Even better was the way in which she then stated the favourites of her and her colleague; here are some staff who are fully engaged with the product and the concept, and who evidently loooove chocolate (our friend did warn us about this, as he’d decided to see what would happen if he told one particular man that he quite liked Cadbury’s). Feeling pretty happy with our orders, my companion and I retired to one of the booths which provided some quiet as well as a sweeping view of the length of the shop. This was shaping up quite nicely…
And indeed, the hot chocolate was excellent. I had plumped for their gianduja blend – I am SO glad that I am not allergic to nuts, as I love them too much – whilst my companion was a bit more adventurous and had their chilli-infused Aztec blend. Mine was sweet and nutty, whilst hers had enough of a kick to really liven up the drink and cut through the darkness of the chocolate. I had been hoping for something a bit thicker (as they call it in the Philippines, Tsokolate eh – if you are ever served Tsokolate ah, then you should know your host is skimping and serving watered down stuff… which is fine, if that’s what you asked for), but sometimes my expectations are best left at the door. We took our time to savour the hot chocolate, and left thoroughly warmed. If I ever meet this William Curley fellow, I will salute him. Not shake his hand, but salute him… it’s that special.
VERDICT – Highly recommended. Given that they have taken to hibernating in cafés and drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate, I am sure that my mother and her West London ‘ladies lunching’ crew would appreciate getting pointed in the direction of William Curley. But as for my companion and I, apart from swooning from the lovely hot chocolate, we were dazzled by the display of sinful treats and, rather surprisingly, what looked to be well-priced dessert wines on display. This will definitely be a place I will have to visit the next time I’m in that part of town. I hope my friends who live nearby continue to give me a good reason to come over!
Currently listening to: Mastodon – Curl of the Burl