Where’s the good coffee: The Espresso Room

I’d read about this tiny coffee place a long time ago but since it only opens during the working week, has been impossible to trial whilst commuting for work. With a couple of days in the office, I thought it was a good time to visit. My goal was to get here early so I could sit down and do some work. Whilst they have seating, it’s definitely not suited for working with a laptop with small wooden benches lining the interior walls. If you’ve every been to Dose, the Espresso Room is even smaller stil (if that’s possible). Given the little space that exists, I have to admit they impressed me with what they made of little space.

When I stepped inside, two friendly females greeted me. Like many great cafes these days, they do all the standard espresso based drinks including the wonderful antipodean-inspired flat whites. Whether it was the sunny weather or just what they’re like the baristas like they were very chatty, talking about what books they were reading (apparently The Alchemist is a good one!) and all other sorts of topics.

The important part about any coffee shop is the coffee and this one hits the mark fine. Perfectly creamy milk and a mean tasting espresso vanished far too quickly that I was thinking perhaps staying around for a second wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

It’d be great if it was open during the weekend but I’m guessing they have plenty of business opening opposite a hospital.

Name: The Espresso Room
Found at: 31-35 Great Ormond Street
Website: http://www.theespressoroom.com/


Hooray. There were many good things about London this weekend other than the crisp weather complete with sunny blue skies. The great thing to celebrate is that another great coffee shop has been added to central London.


Run by some other antipodeans (I think this one is Kiwi owned), Kaffeine is one of the better places located on the north side of Oxford Street away from Regent Street. Tall ceilings welcome caffeine-junkies into a light and cleanly decorated room complete with some high table chairs and some more relaxed lounge style in the back.


Other than coffee, this place also offers home made cakes and muffins, and salads, sandwiches and hot foccacia rolls to accompany the coffee. Things are a bit more on the pricier side for coffees and sandwiches, but it’s still a decent choice if you need a fix.

Name: Kaffeine
Found at: 66 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7QJ
Website: http://www.kaffeine.co.uk/

Where’s the good coffee? Nude Espresso

Yet another day, and the discovery of yet another great coffee place. Unfortunately it sits in a place where I don’t really get to go that often, and plenty of other decent coffee stores surround it. Nevertheless that didn’t really stop me from trialling Nude Espresso. I noted this place down the last time that I went along for Brick Lane’s Sunday (Up)Market, though I’d already had my coffee for the day from Taylor St Barista’s, located closer to Liverpool Street Station.


Nude Espresso is pretty hard to miss with its bright red paint declaring its presence. Much like many other decent coffee stores around London, they have a couple of benches outside that would be nice if the weather stayed as nice as it was a couple of weeks back. Fortunately this store seems to have quite a lot of seating, since it stretches pretty deeply with plenty of table and chairs to accommodate groups of many sizes.


I only really wanted to get a coffee, so I ordered the flat white (£2.20) though they of course serve all the classic drinks. I noted a few people simply sitting having a cup of coffee and reading a magazine and newspaper. The insides did look pretty inviting. Unfortunately I’d just had lunch so wasn’t feeling hungry at all despite the wide variety of sandwiches and pastries did look very tempting as you can see from the photo below.


The verdict. Very good. I asked where they got their beans from and they told me it was the espresso blend from Monmouth (it really could have only been one of two answers). The flat white was creamy, strong and certainly kept me going as I continued my walk around the area. I’m well chuffed to have found yet another great place to recommend to people. My only dilemma now though is which one I’d recommend now that there is a handful of decent ones in that area. Nevertheless this is a very good problem to have.

Name: Nude Espresso
Address: 26 Hanbury St, Spitalfields London E1 6QR
Website: http://nudeespresso.com/

Where’s the good coffee: Wild & Wood

In my last post, I eluded to visiting another good coffee store. I was fortunate enough to work out of our main office instead of client site for a day. I had stumbled across Wild & Wood on a Sunday and noticing how new it was and a big sign that says “We serve Monmouth Coffee!) Colleagues in the office confirmed rumours that Monmouth had put up their prices, so that made it easy for me to think about trying somewhere new. I mean, fresh organic Jersey milk and the same Monmouth beans had to have some potential right?


The cafe is best described as wide but shallow. A table by the window tempts you with some wicked looking cakes, biscuits and pastries while a whole pile of sandwiches and baguettes called out to be bought. I was a little surprised when I entered because they don’t have the counter that most places have, and so it feels like you’re confronted by the two attendants there. Of course, they were helpful and friendly so it wasn’t really a big deal. Just a bit surprising instead.

Like most serious coffee stores these days, Wild and Wood serve a decent flat white, though they only charge a measly £1.90 for it. I feel a little bit traitorous to Monmouth because I would definitely go back if I had another day near the office. It was really that good.

Name: Wild & Wood
Address: 1 New Oxford Street London WC1A 1BA
Website: None that I could find

Where’s the good coffee: Dose Espresso

The last couple of weeks have been exciting as I’ve finally managed to visit two more coffee stores both serving fantastic coffee. Since I commute a long distance for my current client, I’ve only had the weekend to check out the newest coffee store closest to me, Dose Espresso (recommended by Bea). It’s location is a huge bonus, and only if I didn’t have to leave so early for work would it make it my daily choice for a cup o’ joe.


Dose Espresso is literally located right opposite Smithfields Market closest to the Barbican Centre. It’s not huge inside, though they’ve done plenty to maximise the space with sitting benches right along the walls and small coffee tables that make the place comforting without seeming cluttered. They’re the only coffee store that I know that uses butcher’s paper at the back as a scrolling wall of the specials for the day, and a magnetised wall complete with bright magnetic letters for their normal menu.

With cakes made by Bea and a decent variety of sandwiches and ciabatta’s, Dose is also a great place to stop by to grab lunch on the run. Being anti-podean run also means that they serve flat white coffees, and they confirmed they also can do coffee with soy milk for those with lactose intolerance. Most importantly the coffee is strong, great tasting and definitely worth visiting if you happen to be in the area.

Name: Dose Espresso
Located at: 69 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9EJ
Website: http://www.dose-espresso.com/

Where’s the good coffee? Fernandez and Wells

I stumbled across this little cafe on the way to Oxford Circus and noted that it looked like a great place to stop in. Actually, I stumbled across their Food and Wine bar on Lexington Street and was drawn in with their legs of cured meats hanging in the window. What a weird place to find something like this, yet I couldn’t help but be drawn in like a fly to see what it was all about.


I asked if they did coffee and mentioned that they did around the corner at their other shop on Beak Street. I had time to drop in, so thought, why not? As I stood there, waiting for a takeaway latte (notably more expensive than Monmouth at £2.50) I heard other Australians and New Zealand accents around me. I’ll admit it took them a while to make one so I had a little bit of time to look at their very tempting ciabattas and paninis. When I did finally get the coffee, it was delicious and perfect for that weekend coffee. Definitely highly recommended although it’s a shame all the good coffee stores seem to be packaged around the same area, and not spread out more around London!

Where’s the good coffee? Lantana

I heard about this small cafe from one of Time Out’s suggestions. It’s tucked away in a small pedestrian alleyway just behind where Roka is. My main reason for visiting this cafe was the coffee, although after hitting a big session at the gym, I thought I’d also test out their brunch menu, particularly since there’s not really enough places around that do it well.


In terms of coffee, they offer all the typical offerings although I went for the Flat White since it was on offer, a perfectly dark colour, creamy enough to tantalise the palette without overwhelming the taste buds. Bonus points to them for also automatically serving up a glass of tap water with it – something many other cafes and brunch places fail to do.


For my brunch, I went for something I wouldn’t normally get: Corn Fritters with a poached egg, oven roasted tomatoes, rocket and lime aioli (£8.50). Plenty of other dishes really appealed to me and I’d definitely think about returning although I think it might be a bit nicer in the spring or summer where you can dine at their al fresco tables just not practical in the wintery winds. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the corn fritters although I did enjoy it all. The lime aioli brought a welcome sharpness of the peppery rocket, though the combination of the poached egg and over roasted tomatoes seemed to turn the dish slightly too soggy for my liking.

Name: Lantana
Found at: 13 Charlotte Place Fitzrovia London W1T 1SN
Website: http://scramblingeggs.blogspot.com/
The Good: Thumbs up to awesome coffee, friendly service and an appetising variety of pastries and takeaway foods. Go there!
The Bad: They don’t really have that many tables to sit at. I can’t wait to return in spring though I’m sure I’ll drop in way before then!

Where’s the good coffee? Taylor St Baristas

Things are certainly looking positive for the London coffee scene, with the Taylor St Baristas store near outside Liverpool Street a worthy addition. It almost makes me want to work on a project for a bank. Almost.

They have two locations in London (as well as one in Brighton that I’ll definitely visit when I head down there) though their Richmond site is not particularly convenient for me. Currently commuting out of London for work, I was interested to see if any of them were open on the weekend. I checked their website but couldn’t find any details about opening hours (though they either corrected it now or I just didn’t see it). Instead, I sent them an email and got a very pleasant and prompt response about their locations (map locations included) and their times.


Their more convenient location (for me at least) is their tiny store found on New Street just off Bishopsgate. This Sunday, it was pretty empty. My guess is that I went there for a pretty late time (2pm) and the constant drizzle forced people to move away. That’s fine with me since it meant I got to sit at one of their chairs, and ended up chatting to the lovely Irish barista about the store and how long it’d been there for. Kudos to the store for hiring someone so passionate about her coffee and profession. It sure beats the pale kids they hire at said-chain who don’t know to operate a real espresso machine.


Anyway, on to the coffee. I ordered a flat white. It’s slightly more expensive than the one they serve at Monmouth (my benchmark) at £2.20. That’s fair enough for having a sit-down coffee as well. The ratio of milk to espresso was perfect, and the espresso strong but not burnt. They even went to effort of pouring latte art on top (okay, well it was a slow day). Very nice all up. If I was working in the area, I’d definitely make an effort to go there for my daily dose. The sandwich (£3.90) was pretty good too. Thick crusty seeded bread with a hearty slab of ham and cheese. Heated up, it was the perfect lunch.

If you’re in the Liverpool Street area, I’d highly recommend people head here. It’s slightly hidden from view but they do fantastic cups of coffee.

Name: Taylor St Baristas
Found at: 1A New Street, London, EC2M 4TP
Website: http://www.taylor-st.com/
The Good: Great coffee, nice little cafe. They even sell Bundaberg Ginger Beer, Cherry Ripes and Freddo Frogs!
The Bad: There wouldn’t be much space for people to all sit down for lunch, but I’m betting their take away coffee is still fine.

Where’s the good coffee? Ninth Street Espresso

This little gem is found in the middle of the Chelsea Market outfitted with a simple corner wooden bench and trendy barristas who proudly pour their latte art into reasonably sized cups.


Although fairly pricey (US$4.25) for a latte, it had the perfect ratio between steamed milk and the dark espresso blend, with a strong flavour without that bitter taste of burnt coffee. I liked how friendly their service was, and how patrons seemed to come out of nowhere just for their coffee. I’d definitely return to have their coffee, and fortunately it looks like they’ve set up two more around the city.

Name: Ninth Street Espresso
Found at: 75 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th)
Website: http://www.ninthstreetespresso.com/

Where’s the good coffee? Manon Cafe

Jim found Manon Cafe when we were on a project in Clerkenwell and I have to admit it’s a great little store that sells an amazing brew of Illy branded coffee beans. Only open during the weekdays, their baristas are both friendly and efficient.


Most importantly, their coffee is well made, perfectly creamy espresso that never has that bitter edge of a badly burnt coffee made by a poorly trained barista. Their prices are reasonable (£1.90 for a small latte) and best of all, they offer a free chocolate sample with each coffee because they also happen to house a Leonadis chocolate store. It’s a great location if you happen to work in the area, and the only downside is that it’s not open on weekends to enjoy.

Name: Manon Cafe
Details: 110 Fleet Street
Website: http://www.manoncafe.com/