messydeskMember since 03 Sep 2008
They seem to specialise mostly in small runs of artisan yarn all of very high quality (with accompanying high price) and have a few knitting books. Their magazine selection is pretty good and they always seem to have Rowan Studio which is not always easy to find. Where they really excel though is needles, they have every kind and every size in every material you could want, all of which are good quality, even the plastic ones.
It's a lovely shop but don't go expecting to be able to buy yarns you know, they most liekly won't sell them, but if you want to find some interesting yarns that you would usually have to buy online or at craft fairs or if you need some knitting advivce, Loop is great.
The coffee is really, really good in large cups but the cake is bad, dry and overpriced. The chocolate fondue is a great idea but in reality tastes of wax to the extent that it's inedible. It's a fun place to go, but avoid the food and stay upstairs.
The rest of the food is very good, they have good salads, wheat-free sandwiches and some noodle meals. All taste really good but are shockingly expensive. The superfood salad is about £8 for example, it's a good dish with fresh tasting, varied ingredients but my god, there's just no need for that sort of price tag.
Alas, I keep going back. Healthy food is my biggest weakness and it seems that I will pay for the privileged.
Food wise, the sushi is excellent, there's a wide range of to choose from and it's made fresh and delicious. One slight downside is that the non-sushi dishes I've had there are really quite awful, the noodles are bland and tasteless for example but if you stick to the sushi and it is, of course, a sushi restaurant you'll be more than fine. Particularly good are the bento boxes where you get a huge amount of different types of fish for a very reasonable £12. My partner was really knocked out by the soft shell crab. That brings me to one of the most excellent things about Mai Sushi - the price. It really is very reasonable, particularly for the area and the quality of the cooking.
If you're stuck at Kings Cross or Euston and don't fancy any of the over priced corparate fare on offer, just pop a couple of street over to Mai Sushhi, it's a really lovely, simple and unpretentious place.
Each room has a different theme, the Chinese Dragon room being the most ostentatious, the Chinoise being the prettiest, Camera Valencia being the most stylish and the tiny but lovely Beach Cove being my favourite. There's something beautifully quirky about the whole place, but not in a hipper-than-thou, cutesy way, (something you can find quite a bit in Brighton). The rooms seem like they've been designed by a non-professional designer but with real flare and imagination. The effect is both winning and rather unique, something you don't often find with hotels. The four largest rooms have big en suite bathrooms with jacuzzis and the beds in every room I've stayed in wonderfully comfortable, you seem to keep sinking into the mattress for about 5 minutes after you climb in.
The breakfast in bed is awesome and they do a really fantastic eggs florentine. The food is a little pricey, but worth every penny. There's simply nothing they've missed out.
I usually go in the evenings and have the set menu which is ridiculously cheep, but if I've had a rotten morning and feel like a treat I take myself over at lunchtime and eat from the a la carte menu. I can also really recommend the salads. Unlike a lot of places, the Carnevale chefs know how to make a salad that's a properly filling meal by itself, not just a few limp vegs covered in oil, the potato and broccoli versions are particularly awesome. (Good vegan choices as well).
Food-wise there's your traditional cafe breakfast stuff - all very good but there's also home-cooked Italian stuff of all types which is truly excellent. The chips are big, thick cut jobs and the toast isn't just sliced bread. If you ever happen to visit when asparagus lasagne is on the menu, don't hesitate, order it immediately, grab a newspaper from the pile and join the family.
The downstairs bar is basically a huge old pub with all the tables taken out, but other than the rather fancy branded windows it's worn and tatty, with scuffed black walls and posters for obscure bands blue tacked on every surface. It's got a lot of charm though and Matt and Greg, the managers are the type of publicans that make you want to come back time and again. The barstaff are friendly too, possibly due to aforementioned management and there's usually a healthy crowd of interesting looking alternative types hanging around. The upstairs room is less appealing, it's basically a large box of a room with nowhere to sit and nothing to look at, good if you're watching a band, but if you're looking for anything other than that, stay downstairs.
Obviously, it's not a place for the beer or food connoisseur, you'll get a fizzy pint and a box of Pringles and you'll like it, but it has a licence till 3am most nights, with various clubs and DJs throughout the week. If you're looking for a che-che, uptown sort of place forget it, if you're looking for the sort of grungy dive Camden is famous for, you won't go far wrong.