Spianata, Spitalfields Market, EC1 (near Liverpool Street Station)


Expensive but good.
Illy coffee – which is my favourite mainstream blend.
Coffee ***
Cost: £1.45
Location: ****
Comfort: *** (quite a few seats outside in the market, and on the street. Inside: not much)
Others: Nice, but expensive, spianata (thin foccacia-style flatbread) sandwiches. Salads are better value.

Riccardo’s, 19 Paul Street, EC2

A cheerful little Italo-British greasy-spoon style cafe, offering a range of hot & cold sandwiches and proper tea and coffee in a mug. Real Italians too.
Espresso is a bit weak; poor crema. Drinkable but not great. Lavazza signs are visible (not my favourite brand).
Coffee **
Price £1.50
Environs **

(Closed) D&G Espresso Bar, Whitechapel Road (near Aldgate East tube)

I’m really sad to know that D&G is no more. It was one of the first places I had good espresso in London…

If you are ever heading to Brick Lane or Petticoat Lane market, or visiting Spitalfields market at the weekend, you may find yourself passing through the Aldgate East tube station and the beginning of Whitechapel Road. If so, I strongly recommend you stop off at this absolutely hidden (in plain sight) gem of a coffee shop.

Coffee *****
Best coffee in East London. One of the best in the country. And such a hidden gem.
Like drinking sweet hot tar and molasses. No bitter after taste or over favours. Yum. A classic.


Grab Thai Kitchen, 5 Leonard Street. Old Street Station

Coffee: *** (Illy)
Just round the corner from the tube exit, off City Road, this cheerful and friendly little cafe sells surprisingly decent coffee, along with a great range of Thai soups and noodles. Two long shared benches provide about 16 seats, but this is styled as a street kitchen (albeit indoors, a sensible idea in England) so most folk take away.
Unfortunately the coffee seemed bitter – perhaps burned – and the wooden stirrers impart another bitter flavour so this is not the best coffee in the area.

Nin com soup, Old Street Station


Espresso ***
Cost: £1.25 single
Environs ***
Others: good soups, snacks and lunch items

Decent coffee, good price, nice enough surrounds. Paper cups let it down.

If you’re passing through Old Street Station, this is easy to find (unlike the correct exit) as it takes up on side of the main underpass.
A takeaway soup-focused establishment, you can forgive them for only offering paper cups – coffee isn’t core. It’s a decent cup; nothing to get excited about, but priced well and not un-appealing. Some crema to savour.
Seats and tables are surprisingly plentiful and you could have an impromptu meeting – though not with clients, as it’s not classy. I like the industrial chic look. It’s also a nice place to perch at the window and watch the world go by.