The Watch House: living up to expectations

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I have wanted to go to the new Shad Thames branch of The Watch House (www.watchhousecoffee.com) ever since I walked past it in its opening stages a few weeks ago. So, when my boyfriend suggested we pay a visit to alleviate our margarita-induced hangovers one Saturday morning, I jumped at the chance!

We walked down the beautiful cobbled street leading up to The Watch House, and arrived quite early for brunch (10am) but it was already heaving. They don’t take bookings (which is a personal pet peeve!) so the option is just to queue and hope a table frees up – thankfully it did!

Interiors: The interiors are quite hygge: all white with gorgeous wall-mounted menus, and I love that their bakery wares – from croissants to huge slabs of millionaire shortbread – are so prominently displayed on the counter as the central focus of the café. These are available to both take away and on offering on their menu.

Atmosphere: Each table (of which there are only a few – hence the queue!) is spaced apart from its neighbour, meaning that you are able to enjoy being in your own brunch bubble without anyone else intruding. The Watch House is far from many of London’s recent brunch offerings that are geared towards huge groups of friends enjoying bottomless brunches. Instead, this space is for couples or families: prams rather than prosecco!

Menu: In my opinion, the menu is perfect. I love brunch menus that are slightly different to the standard staple items you can get anywhere. Many of our fellow diners loaded up on fresh pastries and granola. My boyfriend and I obviously stuck to the protein and both ordered eggs: eggs benedict for him (with delicious, moist hand-pulled ham hock) and eggs, smoked salmon and smashed avocado for me (pictured). The eggs were perfectly poached, with generous portions of their accompaniments, on top of delicious ‘Little Bread Pedlar’ sourdough that’s delivered to The Watch House daily. And each for a very reasonable £7!

Overall, I loved our relaxing experience at The Watch House, where the focus is on good food rather than creating a brunch party atmosphere: something that is becoming increasingly harder to find in London. You could easily have an equally fantastic time by yourself here. So, on that note, I will be back ASAP to sample my next choice from the menu: Knead peanut butter on that delicious sourdough!

Food menu (options available): 5*

Food (taste): 4.5*

Drinks menu (options available): 5*

Drinks (taste): 5*

Atmosphere: 5*

Service: 3.5* (you have to order at the counter so service isn’t the most dominating characteristic of this brunch spot… yet!)

Psycle: the party on a bike

Psycle (psyclelondon.com) epitomises all that is good about fitness: it looks good and it feels good. Most negative preconceptions around fitness are that it solely focuses on the exterior. Psycle correctly places equal emphasis on how fitness makes you look, and how it makes you feel, which is what makes it so great.

Atmosphere: I have to admit that I am a Psycle addict, so this review is not of my first class. However, as it’s my first class with Psycle instructor Joe (psyclelondon.com/instructor/66), I thought it could pass as a first review of sorts.

This Saturday morning I headed to Psycle’s studio in Canary Wharf. As you enter the studio reception, the music immediately hits you, as  do the gleaming smiles of the reception staff, who have definitely been employed based on both looks and personality; there are no bitchy blonde waifs trying to intimate you here. Once checked in, you have the option to pre-order a shake from Psycle’s Energy Kitchen (psyclelondon.com/energy-kitchen) for after the class (more on that later), and are given your cleats. I then carry on through the gorgeous white reception into the equally gorgeous white changing rooms to get ready, with every amenity possible at your fingertips.

Content: Now for the good part: the class itself. To say Joe brings the feel good factor is an understatement. As I took my seat on the front row (naturally), Joe came up to me to greet me personally, as he hadn’t seen me at one of his classes before, and he definitely made everyone feel just as welcome. I then spent the next few minutes before kick off adjusting my bike before it begins: the 45 minute party on a bike. Joe immediately epitomises what I have said about Psycle: looking good and feeling good. His body is as flawless as his smile.

For the duration of the class, each track brings something different: you could be seated (although this is unlikely), out of the saddle, doing press ups on your handlebars (whilst still pedalling of course) or tapping back (tapping back into the saddle to return to standing on the next beat). One thing never changes, however: you are always on the beat. Which means the sprints are to the most heart-pumping tracks, and you have no choice but spin your legs faster than you thought possible.

There are two other constants in a Psycle class: 1) there’s always a track where you close your eyes and focus on you and what you want to achieve and 2) the penultimate track is a weights track where you take a seat and curl and press your dumbbells until your arms burn just as much as your legs. Despite sheer exhaustion, in the final track, the entire class was whooping, and Joe genuinely threw his towel into the air in all the excitement!

At the end, the whole room is grinning from ear to ear, and all I can think of is how good I feel and how much I want to return to Joe’s class ASAP.

Afters: As mentioned earlier, I pre-ordered a shake for after the class and, after a ridiculously luxurious shower with complimentary Sachajuan products, I go to collect my favourite bespoke, low-carb shake (pictured): almond milk, cinnamon, chocolate protein and peanut butter. Without fail, Psycle make this combination better than anywhere else in London.

So, smiling and elated (with legs as worked as they’ve ever been), I begin my Saturday morning refuelling with Energy Kitchen deliciousness, to head home to swiftly rebook my next class.

Sweat-rating: 5*

Studio quality (amenities): 5*

Music quality: 5*

Smoothie quality: 5* (will never be topped!)

Overall rating: 5*