Physically, SAM does not bear much resemblance to its elder more austere sibling: Café 6/12. Junior, for instance, gets oodles of light from the floor-to-ceiling doors. The look borrows from the commie theme; not the frumpy the-way-it-really-was design, but the glammed-up nostalgic sort. The all-white crockery also includes milk bar styled mugs. The central, communal table (complete with retro 60’s chairs) is flanked by smaller satellite tables for parties of two to four. Perky seasonal blooms and potted herbs lend a spark of freshness. And, refreshingly, the clientele are not the suited biz bunch of Café 6/12, but largely hip-minded youths.
Attractive though the place and people are, the most droolable element here is the basement bakery. Co-owner Małgorzata Kusina-Doran is a fine-bread connoisseur. I suspect SAM has been designed to fulfill her dream of running a bakery after honing her skills at a bread-making course by Raymond Blanc in London. Flour is sourced from small mills to make baguettes, bagels, pitta bread and sour dough loaves, plus sweet rolls with rosehip or blueberry jams.
SAM’s menu is mainly European in nature, along with a smattering of North African, Middle Eastern and Asian. Like Café 6/12, it also dishes out (free range) egg-based breakfast fares. Other edibles borrowed from 6/12 include Singapore Laksa and bagels with savory toppings. But what SAM really oozes is theat spirit of serving seasonal, wholesome goodness and the fave dishes of the staff. There’s a pleasant element of discovery in picking from the current specials scribbled on the blackboard.