My search for the best coffee shop in central London – criteria and #1 London Review Cake Shop

Photo from my review of Opus coffee shop in Brixton

I’m not a serious coffee drinker. Yes, I own a caffetiere and prefer coffee shops to chains, but I don’t know much about coffee – I couldn’t tell the difference between Italian and Columbian for example. But it’s a special treat for me – to start my day at the weekend, after a lovely dinner, on weekday afternoons filled with thoughts or gossip. I’m excited because this search is going to teach me loads about coffee – which as well as being one of life’s little pleasures, I’m hoping is an acquired taste.

My request on twitter for decent coffee shops near Tottenham Court Road caused quite a flutter – it seems many of you are keen to ditch Starbucks and find a great local coffee place. We move at an incredibly fast pace in London and these places offer a slow, lingering, caffeine-laden respite from to-do-lists and multi-tasking. What a difference between grabbing a latte-to-go and being served at a table and invited to hang around. And what a difference in taste – bitter and deep and distinctive. One of my favourite coffee shops ever was Massolit Books in Krakow, Poland – a dusty bookshop serving cakes and coffee, which begged you to stay there all afternoon.

And so my work-neighbour Pippalippa agreed to be my buddy for my search for the best coffee shop in central London  (central as we can only go so far in our lunch breaks…) which we will test out over the next few months. Here’s my current list of places to try as suggested by Tim Hayward and others on twitter, Time Out and Young and Foodish:

  1. London Review Cake Shop (review below)
  2. Reynolds (review here)
  3. Lantana (review here)
  4. Kaffeine (review here)
  5. Foxcroft & Ginger
  6. Bea’s of Bloomsbury (already been but only for tea)
  7. Caffè Vergnano 1882
  8. LJ Coffee House
  9. The Espresso Room
  10. Flat White (review here)
  11. Wild & Wood (review here)
  12. Dose Expresso
  13. Monmouth Coffee Company
  14. Store Street Expresso (review here)
  15. Notes Music and Coffee

London Review Cake Shop, 14 Bury Place, WC1A 2JL

Any cafe in a bookshop gets double points from me and this was nice and relaxed. Felt like you could sit for much of the afternoon looking out onto the sunny central courtyard, reading books or chatting. Table service is slow and relaxed – slap on the wrists to me who bowled over to the counter to order. It was seriously calm in there – in fact a little too quiet for me and Pip who hadn’t seen each other in a while and were gassing away, but I suppose quiet is what a bookshop is all about.

The coffee wasn’t too strong and was a little bitter but not too much. I got a little kick but wasn’t knocked sideways. I forgot to ask where the beans were from and what the milk was – mental note: I MUST do this from now on. And I should probably take a photo of the actual coffee too. (My review of the coffee will get better as I learn more, I promise).

All in all a cute little place for a snack and a coffee, and perusing the bookshop next door. Apparently they have lovely cakes, quiches and salads too – will try them soon.

London Review Cake Shop on Urbanspoon

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26 responses to “My search for the best coffee shop in central London – criteria and #1 London Review Cake Shop

  1. One of my top sitting, dreaming, reading and meeting up places. All kinds of folk pop in from the British Museum & nearby publishers. Plus if you collect loyalty stamps you get a £5 voucher for the bookshop.

  2. Thanks for the Duracell txt tip, I just got my code for a free coffee!

  3. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #2 – Reynolds, 34 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8DW | The Happiness Project London

  4. It is a great place indeed, isn’t it? Good luck with your quest and the search for the ultimate coffee experience in central London :-)

  5. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #3 – Wild & Wood, New Oxford Street, WC1 A1BA | The Happiness Project London

  6. Cool! I’ll try Wild & Wood as well :-)

    For some reason WordPress directs wrongly when clicking on my avatar, but this is address is where I actually write: http://mrfreelancesthoughts.wordpress.com

    X

  7. Pingback: My Search for the Perfect Burger in London – The Criteria | The Happiness Project London

  8. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #4 – Lantana Cafe, 13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN | The Happiness Project London

  9. Hi Sasha,

    Good luck with your quest. Great idea.

    If you have time, would also recommend you check out Nude Espresso in Hanbury Street. They do a mean cappucino.

    Alex

  10. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #5 – Store Street Expresso, 40 Store Street, WC1E 7DB | The Happiness Project London

  11. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #5 – Store Street Espresso, 40 Store Street, WC1E 7DB | The Happiness Project London

  12. Would be interested to see a review of Kaffeine :)

  13. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #6 – Kaffeine, 66 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7QJ | The Happiness Project London

  14. Pingback: Salt Yard, 54 Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 4NA | The Happiness Project London

  15. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London #7 – Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0PT | The Happiness Project London

  16. There is a secret coffee place inside a shop called ‘Present’ in Old Street.
    You can only take away but it is really good quality.
    Read more here:
    http://www.gilka.co.uk/2010/12/29/present-a-mens-clothes-shop-with-an-amazing-coffee/

  17. There is a tiny espresso bar inside a shoe shop near me called The Three Little Pigs. The shoe shop is called Black Truffle. They serve awesome Nude Espresso shots. The best around by far. It really cute. I think they run shoemaking classes there as well.

  18. Yep it’s true ,,, the best espresso around and the shoemaking classes an extra bonus !

  19. hi, i am so interested your post about coffee shop, concept etc. give me a perspektive to make a confee shop in my place. if you have a photo or something, can you send me or post on my blog, at d37r4@yahoo.co.id

  20. d37r4.wordpress.com

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