My search for the best coffee shop in central London #7 – Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0PT

More coffee in central London following my hitlist of places to try, more mid-week gossip with Penelope, hurrah.

And ever since I started getting into coffee, and testing out coffee shops, Flat White has been mentioned again and again as the caffeine holy grail. It was the Byron to my burger, an Antipodean caffeine dream, the crown jewels of Soho coffee establishments. So I had high hopes. But then bloody @theheliocentric on twitter responded to my excitement about going with these words: “it’ll be far too milky…” and my excitement was dented. Oh no, another overhyped place, a Byron disappointment?

Not quite. Flat White is just opposite Yautacha, next door to the Cafe du Marche, and a really cool venue. They were playing brilliant blues when I was there and in walked the most fabulous collection of cool trendy people - and a large number of interesting beards too. Lots of people on their own which is a great sign. Very friendly Ozzie/Kiwi (sorry I still can’t tell the difference sometimes) staff.

And then my flat white (£2.50) – which had a lovely kick (Brazilian, Sumatran and El Salvador beans) and great coffee art (it’s important m’kay) but arghhhhhhhhhhhhh it was too bloody milky! God I’m beginning to sound like a real whinger but I just know how I like my coffee now which is why it is such a great thing to get into and work out what you like. However, as the people from Kaffeine pointed out to me, it’s really about the customer telling them how they like it done – so next time I’d ask for a double shot and slightly less milky. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I get lots of comments that a flat white is supposed to be milky (apparently coffee is also supposed to be lukewarm, that’s me told) but it’s just a very personal thing.

Do pop in – it’s a great venue (probably coolest coffee shop so far and it smells amaaazing inside) and I’ll definitely be back again, they’re really nice, you can check out the beards and the carrot cake looked fab too.

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15 responses to “My search for the best coffee shop in central London #7 – Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0PT

  1. Pingback: My search for the best coffee shop in central London – criteria and #1 London Review Cake Shop | The Happiness Project London

  2. P.S. What about the coffee cart on Whitecross Street? That’s where I used to get my caffeine before I gave up caffeine. The guy that used to run it is the same guy that opened up Prufrock coffee in Present on Shoreditch High Street. (They looked at me strangely when I asked for decaf.) He also does Columbia Road, in the forecourt of one of the antique shops off Columbia Road. I think his coffee is really my favorite. (I think he’s still responsible for Whitecross Street, but I’m not sure.)

  3. Try Notes Coffee & Music on St Martin’s Lane and have a Piccolo

    http://notesmusiccoffee.com/

  4. Can I ask what sort of coffee you’re looking for in your coffee quest, i.e do you prefer lattes, americanos, espresso etc? Flat Whites are milky yes thats usual.
    You need to try Lantana on Charlotte place although I fear you’ll think its too Milky as well. Try a picallo, same lovely coffee but far less Milk. :)

  5. Hi Sasha,

    Thanks for another tip top review. Flat White is one of my all time favourites for both coffee and ambiance.

    Another Kiwi-owned coffee shop worth adding to your list is Nude Espresso in Hanbury Street. Owned by a great guy named Richard. He has just opened up his own roasting facility around the corner in Brick Lane. Their cappuccinos are superb – and not-too-milky either!

    Alex

  6. I second both Nude and Dose*, although I’m technically a nightmare on caffeine…but I’ve found this new little place that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of (possibly maybe The Roastery?) which is tucked right behind Richmix on Bethnal Green road. It has a ginormous coffee grinder in the middle, brilliant!

    If you’ve already overdosed on coffee at Nude (a hopskipjump away) then I suggest you have one of their hot chocolates, they melt little choc beans and pour on foamed milk, omnomnom, oh and no weird looks if you’re on your own. I plan to spend a lot of 2011 in any place I can get away with not looking weird on my lonesome! Try it, try it! x

    PS loving the rest of the list, I will be trying out a fair handful of them too
    PPS the * at the top, if you go to Dose you also have to try: their hot chocolate (one of the top 3 in London, I’ll wager), their bircher muesli – WOOOO is this a cracking way to start your day.
    Clearly coffee shop writings get me overexcited…

  7. Hi Sasha – I love Flat White, but Fernandez & Well’s flat whites are less milky if that’s what you’re after. Actually, I think Tapped & Packed (Fitzrovia) is making my favourite coffee around that area at the moment and they have great sandwiches too. Have you tried Brewed Boy’s coffee cart on Rupert St – he’s great. By the way, the guy behind the counter in your photo is definitely a New Zealander – the test is ‘fush n chups, bro’ (NZ’der) vs ‘fish n chips, maaayte’ (Aussie).

    • Thanks Greedy Diva! I’d love to go to F&W, it’s on my list. Haven’t heard of Tapped & Packed actually but will definitely give it a go. And thanks for the NZ/OZ tip – I totally forgot about “bro” from my trip to NZ. I do remember “beeeeed” rather than “bed” and laughing at the accents on the radio :) x

  8. I want to share a couple of the best coffee places in London, since you seem to possess a genuine interest in the java drink. I would highly recommend Cafe Oporto on 62 Golborne Road and the Coffee Plant on 180 Portobello Road. Cafe Oporto is a Portuguese cafe, so not only do you savour the rich and frothy taste of the coffee, but you can also treat yourself to a typical Portuguese sweet! A bica or a galao are the regular requests in this classic Portuguese cafe.

    The Coffee Plant is a great, less traditional and more of an informal cool vibe on Portobello Road. However, this place is serious about java from the diverse coffee selection that one can purchase at the back! They are categorised by light, medium and dark roast… Moreover, they have coco, which if you put a touch of into your coffee, it is literally a match made in heaven… a taste of summer!

    Both cafes are phenomenal venues that serve an incredible cup of coffee, where one can enjoy amongst the locals in a friendly, informal vibe.

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