Books For Cooks, W11 1NN
- 020 7221 1992
- 4 Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN
- closed Mon; 10am-6pm Tue-Sat; closed Sun and Bank Hol (also closed for the last three weeks of August)
This Portobello Road bookshop and cafe is devoted exclusively to books about cooking and food. They also organise cookery demonstrations and lessons in the upstairs level.
The main area is quite cramped. Shelves around the walls are devoted to particular national cuisines and other subjects, with the central tables piled with a random assortment of specialist technical works (e.g. books about cooking knives and their uses), glossy hardback recipe books by celebrity chefs and other coffee-table books.
Although the impression given is a little twee, the range of books and selection of subjects is actually very wide, covering the science, history and psychology of food as well as the more traditional areas. There is no catalogue but the staff do keep a list of recent and popular imprints. Searching for a particular author or book can be frustrating but the staff are friendly and eager to assist and you have a good chance of finding a book similar to the one you seek. Customers willing to surrender themselves to serendipity are more likely to have a rewarding time than the determined specialist.
The cafe area at the rear of the shop serves coffee and freshly made cakes, pastries, sandwiches and soup, but has limited seating.