Archive for the ‘Fabulous Cafes’ Category
Prufrock director Jeremy Chandler says he first saw the drink being made at the 2011 UK Brewer’s Cup, which was hosted by Prufrock’s. It was made by James Hoffman of Square Mile Coffee and was also the winning drink.
When he makes the drink, Jeremy uses a brew ratio of 60-70g per litre, depending on preference. Then it’s a coarse grind, a four minute steep (using neutral filtered soft water, about two minutes off the boil). Break the crust (don’t be tempted to do this before the four minutes are up). Finally, put it through a woodneck (a cloth filter) – you’ll find the flavours change as the coffee cools.
If brewing coffee is your thing, Prufrock runs regular courses on making coffee. We’ve done one and they’re really good. They include espresso-making (this was the one we did), latte art, brew methods and coffee-tasting.
This wonderful cafe belongs to 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies who started out with coffee carts in Whitecross Market and Columbia Road Market. The place feels like a laboratory as befits a coffee champion and an enthusiastic team are never far from the coffee machines which include a beautiful classic manual machine by Dutch craftsman Kees van der Westen.
Coffee to one side, we should say that the cakes at Prufrock’s are outstanding. On a really hot, muggy London day, you could also try one of the iced coffees – it’s steeped for 18 hours before being bottled.
Prufrock Coffee is at 23-25 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TE, Chancery Lane or Farringdon tube. Opening Times: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
When in Shoreditch, you might like to visit the Prufrock Coffee Counter in men’s gift shop Present at 140 Shoreditch High Street. Look out for Golden Horn Cigarettes shop signage, more or less across the road from St Leonard’s Church, and you’re there.
Prufrock Coffee is featured in our City Guide App, which features over a hundred and twenty independent cafes and over three hundred and eighty places to explore and visit. There are off-line maps, regular updates, an area guide, a survival great and hundreds of great photos.
Available now on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
We’ve all been there – tired, thirsty and hungry after hours of traipsing around central London in a near daze, looking for that tiny little place that’s utterly fantastic and that no one else knows about – a place that we can gleefully claim as your own. Well, La Gelatiera, seconds away from St Martin’s Lane is that place. Bijou, artisan, with an air of the undiscovered – it ticks all your boxes and before you know it, you’re parked in a seat smacking your lips on a chocolate sorbet and eyeing up the cakes on the counter – hunks of panettone filled with different flavours of gelato – a gelato lover’s dream.
La Gelatiera (which in Italian means ‘old-fashioned gelato churn’) has been created by family and friends. The core trio are Simona, Stephane and Antonio, Antonio being the maestro gelato-maker or ‘gelatiere’. He uses recipes handed down to him by his grandfather who was a gelatiere in Calabria, southern Italy, a region with a strong gelato culture. Gelato was introduced into southern Italy by Arab peoples over the centuries. They’d make snow wines and drinks out of snow using lemons, figs and sugar and the Italians slowly absorbed and built on these old traditions. As for the ultimate origins, gelato (which means frozen) has been made in some form in the Far and Middle East for centuries, particularly in snowy regions. Ice was even transported by ship to places such as Rome.
All the gelato at La Gelatiera is made every day from scratch – no ‘base’ is used, no air is pumped in, no thickening agents, or artificial flavours or colours – it’s made with seasonal fruit (and sometimes veg), sugar, water, eggs, organic Jersey milk and sometimes cream and it’s pasteurised on site daily. They’re also advocates of the Slow Food Foundation to maintain optimum quality. If you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be) you can see the action take place through the glass panelling which looks onto the basement gelato-making area. The resulting gelato is very smooth, lighter than ice-cream, lower in fat and more intense in flavour.
While all the traditional flavours are there, Antonio likes to experiment and takes suggestions from customers. Alongside our divine chocolate sorbet, we had a scoop of the caramel with balsamic vinegar which was superb. They offer a few different flavours every day and these may include Cheshire cheese and cherry, black sesame, sweet potato, celery, honey and walnut – they’re currently experimenting with cucumber.
Simona’s grandmother, Marta from Modena (both are pictured below), is the brains behind the traditional Italian cakes and she teaches Simona how to make them. If you’re lucky, you may end up sitting next to Marta in the cafe like we did – she was very tolerant of our poor Italian and responded with a smile in snatches of Italian. Sample some of Marta’s chocolate cake on the counter, or some of her brioches that in Sicily, are traditionally sliced in two and served with gelato for breakfast as a way of cooling down in the heat. Marta made the Valeria’s pinnafore and head wear (pictured above).
An espresso at La Gelatiera’s is made in their hand-made coffee machine, a beautiful Victoria Arduino built in the Netherlands by specialist Kees van der Westen. This is a manual-levered coffee machine producing beautiful coffee. La Gelatiera uses Colemans Coffee and Huehuetenago, a Guatemalan coffee that’s been slow-roasted in a wooden roastery in a social project in Turin’s Vallette jail.
When in need of a piece of Italy in our frequently rainy capital, come to La Gelatiera. The design is artistic and charming: zig zag mirrored walls and colour everywhere to match the pretty gelato, and dainty gelato cakes and creations. You’ll leave with a smile on your face.
La Gelatiera: 27 New Row, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4LA Open hours: Monday-Sunday 11.30am-10.30mpm, Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am-11.30pm Tel 00 44 20 7836 9559
La Gelatiera is featured in our London Cafes and City Guide App. It has over a hundred independent cafes in it plus updates – and over three hundred and fifty places to explore and visit. Follow them on Twitter @LaGelatiera.
Available now on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and coming soon on Android and Windows Mobile.
Giddy Up Coffee opens its third outdoor coffee venture today – Giddy Up Guild – right outside fifteenth century Guildhall in the City of London, close to Bank and St Paul’s stations. The Olympic Marathon this summer will dip in and out of Guildhall Yard too.
The different thing about this Giddy Up creation is that it’s a brew bar, not a coffee cart. Instead of serving espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos and flat whites, the brew bar’s serving drinks including V60s (pour over filters), Chemex coffees (Chemex uses thicker filters making for a slower filtration process and more intense flavour) and Aeropress (a plunge cylinder with a filter).
Many of the high end independent cafes in London offer a brew bar experience to showcase single estate beans and indicate specialism – however they always feature alongside one or more espresso machines. But Giddy Up owner, Australian Lee Harte thinks Londoners are ready for something different: “I think the people of London are ready for a brew bar experience in its own right.”
Guildhall, Grade 1-listed and dating back to 1411, was the seat of City government for many centuries, but today it’s a venue for major civic and state events and is home to the City of London Corporation. It also has its own Lord Mayor – not to be confused with the elected London Mayor (currently Boris Johnson) who looks after London as a whole, City of London included.
Guildhall is also home to Guildhall Art Gallery. Its permanent collection is free and includes many Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and works charting London through the ages. Underneath the gallery are the remains of a Roman Amphitheatre (below).
Lee’s other outdoor coffee ventures – two fantastic coffee carts serving espresso near Old Street tube – can be found in Fortune Street Park near Whitecross Market and outside Brazilian Bar Floripa, at 91-93 Great Eastern Street. Giddy Up Floripa serves alcoholic coffee cocktails and has a beautiful manual lever coffee machine, a Mirage Veloce, by Dutch craftsman Kees van der Westen.
Both Giddy Up Coffee Carts are in our London Thru Cafes City Guide App – if they’re anything to go by, we expect Giddy Up Guild will follow.
Giddy Up Guild Brew Bar: Guildhall Yard, Guildhall, off Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH
Brew Bar Opening Times: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm
Guildhall Art Gallery Opening Times: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm and Sun Noon-4pm. Tel 00 44 20 7332 3700. See here for a map. Some exhibitions are ticketed.
Written by London thru Cafes: the Coffee App and City Guide for London. The App features over a hundred independent cafes, over three hundred and fifty places to explore and visit, a photo gallery, access details, off-line maps, a London calendar of regular events, a neighbourhood guide and a London survival guide.
For fantastic coffee in a fascinating part of London, head to Association Coffee in historic Creechurch Lane, City of London. This stylish cafe only opened in March, but thanks to its mania for quality and its experienced baristas (among then Gavin Ly and David Robson), The Association already has a quietly confident, established feel.
In addition to espresso there is a brew bar, where you can sample different coffee-making methods such as Aeropress, V60 or Syphon, and different single estate coffee beans. The cafe also offers a unique drink where you can sample a single coffee in two cups: part espresso and part cappuccino – a nice touch, which coffee-geeks will love.
After chatting to owner Sam Mason from Melbourne, you quickly realise everything’s been thought about and consistent high quality is the number one goal. “It’s about maintaining an unbroken chain of quality, from the farmer to the cup. The earth creates in the bean all the potential and our role is to gently coax it out. We can’t improve on nature’s perfection, but through skill, understanding and attention to detail we are able to extract the goodness that’s already there.”
Association is designed by architects Herbert and Mason. It’s spacious, with subtle lighting more often seen in a bar than a cafe, and the design makes use of the building’s natural wooden beans and unadorned bare brick walls.
There’s also a story behind the cafe’s unique letter ‘A’. The ‘A’ is precisely specified, yet it’s painted by hand. Sam explains how this mirrors the coffee making process: to exacting scientific guidelines, yet crafted by hand imparting the barista’s unique stamp on every cup.
While you’re in Creechurch Lane, take a look at the church of St Katherine of Cree. The church was built in the 1630s and it managed to survive the Great Fire of 1666.
Creechurch Lane was also where the first Jewish Synagogue was established after the readmission of Jews to England in the mid seventeenth century. Jewish merchants and traders arrived with William the Conqueror but were banished from England by King Edward I in 1290.
The London Metal Exchange is at 56 Leadenhall Street nearby and you can arrange a 45 minute-viewing slot of trading taking place.
Association Coffee is featured in our City Guide App, which has over a hundred independent cafes in it plus updates – and over three hundred and fifty places to explore and visit.
Available now on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and coming soon on Android and Windows Mobile. Copyright of graphic belongs to Association Coffee.
Opening Times: Monday-Friday 7.30am-5pm, closed Saturday and Sunday.
Access: The cafe has two steps in.
Association on Twitter: @AssociationEC3.
When you go to lots of cafes like we do, you start to learn the story behind every coffee counter – the inspiration, the hard work and in the case of Curators Coffee in the City of London, the common goals and interests.
Curators is run by a small and dedicated creative team including experienced barista Catherine Seay and designer Jason Prain. The team first formed through a love of cycling and started a cycle club called the Regent’s Park Rouleurs.
Being Antipodeans, they also had a love of fabulous coffee. After training, they’d head into the City for a decent coffee and slowly, the idea for a cafe of their own was born.
Curators is perfect for exploring the City of London, the small area where London first started. It’s a major financial district (alongside Canary Wharf) and is also known simply as ‘the City’ or the ‘Square Mile’.
While you’re here, take a closer look at the spiralling glass panes of St Mary Axe, Norman Foster’s amazing ‘Gherkin Building‘ of 2004 and still one of our all time London skyline favourites. The deconstructed, ‘inside-out’ Lloyds Building designed by Richard Rogers in the late seventies is also nearby, as is the historic Monument, built in memory of those who died in the Great Fire of London in 1666. You can climb up its 311 steps and it has some great views too. London’s bascule-bridge Tower Bridge is also nearby and for shopping there’s centuries-old Leadenhall Market, famous for its colourful wrought-iron and intricate glass work. The Tower of London is also a walk away – once a medieval palace and execution site, the Tower of London is also famous for being home to the Crown Jewels and the ceremonial guards, the Yeoman Warders or ‘Beefeaters’.
Before leaving Curators, ask them about their pride and joy, their Marzocco Strada EP coffee machine (they’ll happily wax lyrical about it for hours). Standard coffee machine pressure is 9 bars, but the Strada EP lets baristas experiment between zero and twelve bars, allowing different aspects of a coffee bean’s flavour to be extracted or ‘curated.’
The cafe’s design is by Jason Prain and Jen Archer. Curators has a cool and relaxed feel, with a fresh spearmint green throughout (even the coffee machine, grinders and lampshades match). Pastries are by the Yeast Bakery and cakes and sandwiches are by Browns of Brockley. This cafe is best for taking your coffee, cakes or sandwiches away, but there is some seating by the window at the front.
All of these places – including Curators Coffee – are in our City Guide App. The App is available on iPhone and will be on Android very soon.
Curators Coffee: 9a Cullum St, London, EC3M 7JJ, Tel 00 44 20 7283 4642. Transport: London Fenchurch Street rail, or Monument or Aldgate Tube. Coffee is by Union and Square Mile, tea is by Lalani and Co.
The coffee at this cart inside the grounds of eighteenth century St Giles-in-the-Fields Church is just as good as the coffee from any one of our featured indoor cafes. If Polish barista Lukasz and Latvian Ivette are on shift, have a chat with them – they’re friendly, knowledgeable and skillful too.
Flat Cap St Giles has a sister-cart in Strutton Ground (Flat Cap Victoria) and another in the grounds of St Dunstan in the West Church on the corner of Fetter Lane and Fleet Street (Flat Cap Fleet Street).
Flat Cap is also linked to Notes, Music, Coffee. This cafe has two brilliant branches which are both in the West End and are featured in our App. One is in St Martin’s Lane and is near the English National Opera, the other is in Wellington Street and is near the Royal Opera House. The coffee carts – and the opera houses for that matter – are also featured in our App. There is also a Flat Cap stall in Borough Market.
From here, you could visit Foyles Bookshop and also see what’s on at Ray’s Jazz Cafe, which is right inside the store. Or explore the shops around Seven Dials. Denmark Street, a stone’s throw away, is full of music shops and is part of London’s music history. If you’re at Flat Cap St Giles, the App will suggest other things to do nearby. Currently iPhone only, the App will be available on Android very soon.
Opening Times of all the Flat Cap Stalls: Monday-Friday 8am-4.30pm (approx). Borough Market Stall in the Green Market is Thursday-Saturday.
Flat Cap St Giles Coffee Cart: 60 St Giles High Street, London WC2H 8LG. Access – The coffee cart is in the grounds of St Giles Church and is wheelchair accessible. Coffee is by Square Mile.
Written by London thru Cafes: the Coffee App and City Guide for London. 100+ fabulous independent cafes and 350+ great things to do nearby.
We’ve just visited Vienna where of course we sampled lots of cafes and were fascinated by the differences between Viennese cafes and those in London.
While we didn’t see a flat white, muffin, brownie or slice of lemon drizzle once during our five days in the city, we had a fantastic time and coffee and cake galore!
We noticed that while cafes in London continue to spring up all over the place, including outer London more and more, Vienna celebrates its established major players. Café Central (above), Café Landtmann and Demel (with branches in Salzburg and New York) have built up their names and reputations over decades, becoming national institutions and proud landmarks.
When we go to a cafe in London, it’s usual to order your coffee and cake at the counter. In Vienna, you’re met at the door of the cafe by a waiter or waitress and led to a table. Places also have full menus, are licensed and some, like Café Central, even have a pianist playing softly in the background.
The result to the café enthusiast is interesting. In Vienna, the boundary between cafe and restaurant is more blurred and the pace more leisurely – many have hat-stand after hat-stand as they expect you to stay. More than once, we found ourselves trying not to polish off our coffee and cake at ‘London speed,’ and noticed that someone who’d arrived before us hadn’t even started their cake by the time we’d finished ours.
The coffee and cake in Vienna is also very different from coffee and cake in London. Cakes in Vienna are a rich and elaborate creation involving different colours, sugars, flavours, creams, jellies and textures – Cafe Diglas even has a video-loop playing of their pastry chefs baking and shows you the artistry and skill behind what’s on your plate.
As for the coffee – we think the Viennese obsess more about their cakes whereas London new wave cafes obsess more about their coffee. There isn’t a flat white to be seen anywhere and while a cafe might have pages of different types of coffee – with alcohol or without, with whipped cream or without and in all different strengths and sizes – the coffee is a given. It’s not emphasized like it is in London, where it can be a café’s core product, but who knows what will happen once the World Barista Championships take place in Vienna between 12-15 June this year!
Some types of coffee include: the Schwarzer (espresso), the Brauner (espresso with a little hot milk), the Verkherter (like a latte), the Melange (espresso with milk and foam, like an Italian Cappucino), the Verlangerter (like an Americano), the Fiaker (coffee with rum and whipped cream) and the Austrian Cappucino, a stronger coffee made with whipped cream.
Prices are higher but this is no surprise given the fact most cafes are palatial and you can stay for hours even if you don’t have a three-course meal. Coffees are between 3-5 Euros each, as are cakes, and you only have to think of trying to recreate one of them to conclude they’re really worth it.
Whether it’s price or culture, there’s doesn’t seem to be much of a takeaway coffee culture in Vienna either. We didn’t see one person walking around with a cup in a sleeve. That said, there are eleven Starbucks in the capital, the first of which arrived in 2001. We couldn’t resist but have a look at the branch at 49 Kartner Strasse – it serves classic Starbuck’s-styled drinks with an occasional nod to Austrian tastes.
And there’s also a double-edged difference – the vast majority of Vienna’s cafes let you smoke; Austrian laws still allow smoking although there are non-smoking areas and some are smoke free.
Mentioned above, all time classic Demel (left) at 14 Kohlmarkt (Tel 00 43 1-5351 7170, U-Bahn Herrengasse, line 3) has stunning window displays and beautifully crafted cakes and chocolates. We had a fantastic ginger hot chocolate here and a dessert called Mohr Im Hemd. This is a light chocolate pudding, verging on a souffle, served with warm chocolate sauce and cream. It’s the sauce that makes it and we liked it so much, we’ve already made it at home thanks to a recipe from Vienna.Info, having bought our little bundt tins in Vienna from a cook shop on Wollzeile Strasse. Demel also sells confectionary, chocolate and cakes in a shop section and if you walk through to the back, you’ll see the pastry chefs creating their works of art.
Also brilliant is Oberlaa at 14 Karntner Gasse (Tel 00 43 1-512 4963, U-Bahn Stephansplatz, lines 1 & 3). We enjoyed a full lunch here but it’s particularly famous for its Lakronen, colourful and perfectly chewy macaroons, which you can have with coffee or a glass of champagne. There are more other branches around the city.
For somewhere more bohemian and laid back, go to Cafe Hawelka at 6 Dorotheerstrasse (Tel 00 43 1-512 8230), also very central. Hawelka serves coffees, a small selection of cakes, alcoholic drinks and the occasional savoury bite.
Just across the way from Cafe Hawelka is Trzesniewski open sandwich bar with its lovely dark breads and hearty spreads of chopped egg, herring or salmon, definitely more of a takeaway. Like Oberlaa, Trzesniewski has other branches around the city too.
Elegant and unmissable Cafe Central (right) is at the north end of Herrengasse (Tel 00 43 1-533 3763 ext 24 or 61, U-Bahn Herrengasse, line U3). This 130-year old establishment frequented by Trotski and Freud is where once again we indulged in coffee, cake and some fabulous Austrian white wine. It was one of the highlights of our stay and a jewel in Vienna’s cafe landscape.
For a pork Schnitzel that isn’t greasy but is so big that it hangs over your plate, go to Figlmuller at 5 Wollzeile (Tel 00 43 1-512 6177, U-Bahn Stephansplatz, line U1 or U3). Figlmuller is loved by tourists and visitors alike and our service there was excellent. We had one Schnitzel between the two of us with knock-out potatoes in a salad dressing that’s so good it has people online looking for the recipe (we haven’t found it yet, it must be secret). We also shared one of their Emmental Schnitzels too – lovely deep fried cheese coated in breadcrumbs. There’s another branch of Figlmuller at 6 Bäckerstr, just around the corner.
Cafe Landtmann is a slick and glamourous non-smoking establishment at 4 Dr Karl Lueger-Ring (Tel 00 43 1-2410 0100, U-Bahn Schottentor, line U2, or U-Bahn Herrengasse, line U3). Come here to feel pampered and luxurious. Landtmann has an attractive terrace area and a huge grand interior – and we mean huge. We had a selection of petit-fours here but there were plenty of Austrians polishing off big Schnitzel too.
Then there’s Zu den 3 Hacken at 28 Singerstrasse (Tel 00 43 1- 512 5895, U-Bahn Stephansplatz, lines 1 & 3). The name means ‘At the Three Axes. Offal is much more present on this menu but don’t let that put you it off. If you’re not sure what you’re ordering, just ask, one of the waitresses helped us out, thankfully pointing out we were confusing’Huhn’ which means ‘chicken’ with ‘Hirn’ which means brain! This is a special restaurant and reminded us a little of St John Restaurant in Clerkenwell, London.
Our all time favourite was Cafe Diglas at 10 Wollzeile Strasse (Tel 00 43 1 5125 7650, U-BahnStubentor, line 3, or U-Bahn Stephansplatz, lines 1 & 3). We went to Diglas three times during our five day visit. Highlights were their sensational creamy saffron and chicken risotto followed by a doughy apple cake topped with meringue and warm vanilla custard. Another time we had gnocchi with beautiful pork medallions each one topped with a prune wrapped in pancetta (we’ll be trying to recreate this). The toilets in Diglas are the zaniest we’ve even seen anywhere too; they’re see-through until locked and then a ‘no entry’ sign shines on the cubicle door.
Very near Diglas at 38 Wollzeile Strasse is Plachutta, famous for its Tafelspitz, traditional boiled beef (Reservations on 00 43 1-512 1577, dress code, smart).
While in Cafe Diglas, we got chatting to an English couple who visit Vienna several times a year and they recommended Cafe Sperl at 11 Gumpendorferstraße (U-Bahn Museumsquartier, line U2). Vast, old, grand and mellow, we had cheesecake and coffee here – and the tap in the ladies’ washroom (right) is like no other.
Our best restaurant highlight was Stomach (no website) at 26 Seegasse (Tel 00 43 1-310 2099, U-Bahn Rossauer Lande, line U4). Stomach feels wonderfully secret and local and is a true hidden gem. They serve food that’s traditionally Austrian at the core (meat, potatoes, salads and fish – although they can adapt dishes for vegetarians) and the place has a fresh, modern feel with fantastic presentation and impeccable service.
Finally, we have to mention London’s own Austrian cafe gem. We love authentic and charming Kipferl (below) which can be found at 20 Camden Passage, in Angel, north London (Tel 00 44 20 7704 1555). Like its Austrian sisters, Kipferl has a full menu and creates traditional dishes such as Strudel, Sachetorte and Schnitzel plus Austrian-styled coffee. As you look through the menu, you come across a coffee-colour chart so you can pick the coffee you want ‘by colour’ just like they did in nineteenth century Vienna. Kipferl has a fresh, modern stream-lined decor and is also featured in our App.
We also liked
While in Vienna, we went to Römertherme Spa in Baden, just outside Vienna. We really recommend this spa and sauna complex with sulphuric waters.
For art, you must to go to the fantastic Belvedere. From July 12, 2012, there’ll also be a Gustav Klimt exhibition to celebrate the fact Klimt would have been 150 this year. And then there’s Mumok, the Museum of Modern Art - worth visiting for the amazing building alone.
And finally, there’s stunning Schoenbrunn Palace although we prefer this from late spring to Autumn when you are more likely to be shown around by one of their inspirational guides.
Getting there and getting around
We travelled to Vienna by train. We took Eurostar from London to Brussels, then on the superfast ICE train to Cologne where a huge annual carnival was in full swing. In Cologne we had a four-hour dinner stop before taking the overnight sleeper to Vienna, where we were arrived thirteen hours later at 9am, showered and breakfasted. If you fancy a treat and bit more room, the first class upgrade on the ICE train to Cologne is good value in our opinion. The sleeper is certainly compact but it was fun. The journey, 4 star hotel K&K Hotel Maria Theresia and return flights were booked through RailBookers whom we would happily recommend.
Once in Vienna, we bought a week’s tram/bus/underground pass for 14 Euros. The pass runs from Monday to Monday and is really worth it. If you arrive on a Tuesday you can still buy it, but you obviously lose a day.
On the way back we took the perfectly comfortable and hassle free airport transfer bus from Morzinplatz at the western end of Schwedenplatz, and then flew back to London.
It was a great trip.
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Written by London thru Cafes: the Coffee App and City Guide for London. 100+ fabulous independent cafes and 350+ great things to do nearby.
It’s amazing how many fabulous cafes have opened in London in the past couple of years – just when we think we’ve got them all we learn about another. As we’ve added to and updated our App, we’ve known that which ever cafe we’d make our ‘hundredth,’ it would have to be special.
We’ve decided the accolade should fall to the wonderful Shoreditch Grind, an eye-catching and very cool cafe right outside exit 8 of Old Street tube. We were really wowed when we came here. The coffee’s fantastic, the welcome warm, the pastries are gorgeous and there’s such a buzz about the place that it really boosts the area around Old Street tube. Coffee-loving residents and workers of Old Street, rejoice!
The cafe has its own unique coffee blend especially roasted in small batches by an independent roaster. As you can see, light pours into the place. Wifi and power sockets abound – you’ll find them all around the edge of the cafe by the window stools, heaven for surfers and lap-top users – and there’s also plenty room for people simply wanting to meet up with friends to chat or relax. We love the cafe’s quirky unique shop front too – it has an unmissable ‘cinema-style’ with lettering that changes and the building has a pleasing, circular shape. Definitely a must if you’re in the area and if you’re not, then it’s worth a special visit.
Shoreditch Grind is owned by Australian Kaz James and David Abrahamovitch. Kaz is also a songwriter and producer and has a recording studio upstairs, with recent visiting artists including former Jeff Beck Group, Faces and Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood. He has even written his signature on the wall in the cafe.
Shoreditch Grind: 213 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR. Old Street tube.
Opening Times: Monday-Friday 7am-8pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-6pm.
Access/Dietary: The cafe has level access and is spacious for wheelchair users or prams. It also has gluten free items.
Shoreditch Grind is featured in our City Guide App. Apart from a hundred fabulous cafes, the App also features over 350 things to do around the capital, including theatres, galleries, parks, attractions, museums, bars, comedy clubs, cinemas, music venues and restaurants. The App and maps work offline, saving you roaming charges, and there is also an area guide, a photo gallery and a survival guide. Each entry also includes access details and we’re currently working on a special Olympics category, outlining the venues and which fabulous cafes are nearby.
Written by London thru Cafes: the Coffee App and City Guide for London.
While many of London’s new wave cafes opt for a crisp, white-walled look, cafe and new music venue Cakey Muto definitely breaks the mould.
Apart from the spectacular cakes in the window, what hits you when you go in is the abundance of COLOUR. Pink, black and white, orange – it’s all there, brave and unabashed – and best of all there’s the shocking pink Brasilia Excelsior which sits on the counter, a coffee machine incarnation of one of their fancy cakes.
It makes bespoke cakes for all kinds of occasions ranging from baby showers to birthdays and even proposals of marriage. Quite apt, given the name Cakey Muto comes from a wedding in Tokyo and a misheard cry of ‘cut the cake’ in Japanese.
The coffee is by Monmouth and the imaginative and amazing array of pies are by Mr Hair’s Pie Factory in Brighton. Flavours that grabbed us included the chicken satay and the Pietalian – a melange of basil and mozzarella. For a veggie option, go for the aptly named spinach and potato pie, the Popie – and there are vegan pies too, the Bombay and Thai Veg.
Owner and former TV producer Octavia Landy says on her blog that in October 2011, she was entering the cafe business with ‘no experience in retail or professional cakes’ – however we think it’s precisely this freshness that’s making the place really unique.
Cakey Muto is just about to host its first music gig in its cosy licensed basement this Saturday, 10th March, featuring new band Lund who describe themselves as early Zepp and as Bonnie Tyler meets beat poet. You can enquire about tickets here.
Also don’t miss Chatsworth Road Market which runs on Sundays fron 11am-4pm selling British and world foods, books, vintage clothes, children’s clothes, jewellery, gifts and flowers.
Cakey Muto will be added to our City Guide App London Thru Cafes in our next update. We are about to reach a hundred fabulous cafes, not forgetting of course the 360+ things to do around the city. The App and the maps also work off line. If you have the App and you like it, why not write us a review on iTunes?
Cakey Muto can be found at 25 Chatsworth Road, London E5 0LH. Open Monday-Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11am-7pm. When there are events, the cafe closes later.
There is WiFi and there are gluten free options.
Access: The cafe is spacious and accessible.
Directions: Take the 242 bus from Tottenham Court Road or a ten minute walk from Homerton Overground. We like to get the Overground from Highbury and Islington station and bus it back.
Written by London thru Cafes: the Coffee App and City Guide for London. 100+ fabulous independent cafes and 350+ great things to do nearby.
As we write this blog post, we’re enjoying a drip filter cup of coffee made with Ethiopian Tchembe, produced by artisan roastery Bolling’s in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, also the makers of Grumpy Mule Coffee. Last night coffee-lovers packed out NZ-run Tamper Coffee in central Sheffield, to learn about how coffee’s grown and of course, to sample different coffees, a process called ‘cupping.’ Cascara (see below picture) was also availalable, a tea-like drink made with dried coffee cherries.
Damian Blackburn from Bolling’s led the evening, speaking passionately about the coffee-making process, from plant to cup. What was really interesting was hearing about the different ways coffee beans are processed – the natural method, where the coffee beans dry in the fruit in thin layers in the sun (yielding fuller, fruity flavours), the pulped natural method, where the coffee beans dry with just part of the fruit on them (giving more rounded flavours), and the fully washed method, where the beans are submerged in water in fermentations tanks, then cleaned again in fresh water and dried in the sun. The fully washed method yields more floral, citrus flavours. Pennies started to drop for us, as we began to understand how different processing methods influence different flavours – just like they do with wine and cheese – and of course, picking coffee cherries at the optimum time is also crucial to flavour and quality. To help us compare different tastes, Damian also gave us a more one-dimensional robusta to sample and a Liberica, a completely different species of coffee, with much larger berries and smokier in taste.
We particularly liked the Ethiopian Tchembe, made using the natural method. It has a distinct blueberry taste and is good for gentler coffee-brewing methods such as filter, which is what we use at home. The Guatalmala Finca El Injerto was another favourite, fully-washed and more complex and floral.
This was a really great evening which will no doubt happen again – all part of Tamper Coffee owner Jonathan Perry’s vision to create a “great new cafe culture in Sheffield,” and collaborate with great baristas and roasters. We’re delighted Tamper was packed in spite of the freezing rain outside, showing there’s definitely demand for great coffee up north. Afterwards, we went to the Red Deer pub near by to ‘clean our palettes’ with something a little different…
Tamper Coffee is Sheffield’s first ‘new wave’ coffee shop and is in the city centre, at 9 Westfield Terrace, Sheffield, S1 4GH. Open Monday-Friday 8am-4.30pm, Saturday 10am-4pm Tel 0114 327 1080 Twitter @ TamperCoffee.