Saturday, 23 October 2010

Caffeine fix

I'm constantly telling friends how the best cafes in London are to be found in and around Soho.  There are so few independent cafes in London that have truly great style, so its thought it was worth sharing these tips here for the uninitiated.

I've been inspired to write this post by a recent feature on Remodelista of the Nordic Bakery:
Its a shame they didn't post a photo of the cinnamon buns they are famous for - they are the biggest and best I've ever tasted!

Fernandez and Wells.  3 exquisite premises. Lexington St. Beak St. St Anne's Court.  If I could live in a cafe this would be the one.  In reality I'll just try to replicate some of their style in my own place (starting with painting our internal brick walls stark white).  
Next up, Lantana on Charlotte place. Australian. Named after a noxious weed introduced to Australia from the Americas. Also the name of an awesome Australian film from 2001. 

A great cafe but way too busy for its own good, so we don't go there very often.  

Milkbar on Bateman st.  Sister cafe to Flat White on Berwick st.  Filled to the brim on Saturdays with super-stylish yummy mummys trying to wedge their prams in which is a bit of a turnoff for the baby-phobic.
And that's the way it is with London cafes - if they have an ounce of cool about them they are rammed on weekends. And since GG doesn't drink coffee and hates crowded places its very difficult to get him into one.

The other thing all these cafes have in common is above average coffee. From a totally different planet to the high street cafes...  So I'm going to say the thing we're not supposed to say when living in London.  The Aussies and Kiwis do it best. You know it.

The hallmark of a good Antipodean coffee? The fern pattern, this one from Kaffeine, on Great Titchfield st:

And so my one true love will always be Atomica in Melbourne.  This place needs no introduction to local Fitzrovians. Uber-popular and busy but never impossible to get into. There's just too much cool going on in the cafe scene in Melbourne for one place to get over-crowded. For more info there is also a review on The Breakfast Blog and an indepth review of the coffee at Backseat Baristas for those still living close enough to pop by.  

They have the audacity to only open from 10am to 4pm.  They have staff that really are too cool for school.  GG and I used to go for breakfast almost every weekend for the 3.5 years we lived in Melbourne, and while we got to know them they never showed so much as a flicker of recognition for us. 'Tats' and 'Blondie' - where are you now?
They roast, grind and blend their own beans on site (the roasting machine itself is impressive enough to warrant a visit), and they taste just as good when working up a morning cappuccino from home (effortlessly proved by my lovely friends M and C on my last trip home). 

Ah, the memories of bygone breakfasts.

1 comment:

  1. YES! Awesome! The Mister and I are hopefully going to make it over to London in a couple months time, and this post provides us with some absolutely vital information!

    And I heartily agree. Coffee in Australia is incredible. The only place I've tasted a comparably high average coffee quality is the Seattle/Portland zone.