Apr 28, 2009

tvålpalatset

i was walking back from the subway the other evening when i saw a cup of coffee on a sidewalk table with a perfect latte fern on top of it. the owner of said cup emerged from inside the building to inform me of the existence of a cafe with excellent coffee just around the corner, which is how i found tvålpalatset (trans. soap palace), located in the first-floor rooms of what used to be the meeting rooms of a boxing club. under the cafe is a labyrinth of skylighted, marble-floored echoing spaces carved out of rock. the owner, who looks like andy from the mv glassworks. now rents these out to conferences and his son runs the cafe and an espresso school. so i'm sitting in the second room, painted completely white with wide-plank scrubbed fir floors. the room is three times longer than it is wide, the ceiling is higher than the room is long, there are marble-topped tables and overstuffed red and blue (the shade you associate with gainsborough and the french monarchy) cut-velvet armchairs, and a large, cream-coloured swedish tile furnace stands in the corner.* they brew beans from åre coffee roasters, and i'm having good lattes for the first time in months.

* these look great and are also magnificently efficient. the masonry surrounding the firebox is designed to absorb heat from the heat source and then radiate it back slowly and evenly over many hours.

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