On the day Saint Paul’s became under siege by marauding disgruntled taxpayers (99% of the country, so I hear), Dave and I stopped here, at Wild and Wood, for a coffee, before heading into the battlefield and making unruly remarks about bankers, politics and the ambiguous City of London Corporation. We all know a little more about this secretive institution now, right? No, not really. “A coffee before the protest?” I advanced. — “Yes,” replied Dave, “I know a place up here.” — “Ah, but there’s a place up here that I’d like to check out, looks pretty good.” — “Trust me, the one I’m thinking of is really nice.” — “Where is it?” — “Somewhere round here, not quite sure…”
Neither of us could find the cafés we were thinking of, which were both, incidentally, Wild and Wood. Until, voilà, here it was. The micro-network of roads round there still throws me. Our coffee was swell and gave us a much needed fuel injection for the chilly day of polemics which awaited us.
Today I am back here with Chris. We nestle in in what could be described as an alcove. The seats are carved into the walls, and the tables protrude from them. Pictures of old movie stars dot the wall, and a candle sits between us, giving Chris’ beard an enigmatic shine. The unusual layout is a novelty in itself, and invites you to clumsily share the space with other coffee comrades. As the name of the place would suggest, its prettty woody and pretty goddam wild.
It’s another one of those places which opts out of the conventional ‘bar’ system, instead simply plopping a cash register on the side and relying on shelves and worktops which spill into the room. The woman with the coffee (European but I didn’t catch enough to guess where) is to-the-point but friendly. The small ‘polite’ reminders that those who sit here must purchase something, not water, sums up her character, at least in my head. Three suited men squeeze around a tiny table, sipping coffee delicately and talking about ‘fiscal years’ and ‘strategic incentive strategies (SIS)’. We enjoy our coffee, it’s good and is complimented nicely by a fine sugar. Buzzing slightly, we wonder whether we will ever set foot in an office; we expect not.