Bijoux like a London studio apartment, The Espresso Room is opposite the famous children’s hospital serving top-notch coffee blends alongside snacks – pastries and sandwiches. Lovely smooth and strong espresso in a tiny glass (much smaller than it appears), it’s a lovely place to spend five minutes. Four small wooden benches allow a few people to stop and sit, but the shop is only 6 feet wide and 10 feet long so no real space to move.
Only £1 for an espresso, and cooler than a polar bear’s mojito, this ‘destination’ offers fashion, a bar, music and decent Illy coffee.
Laid out lounges and sofas, and artwork that could grace a 1980s bachelor pad; but I quite like it – and there are few decent alternatives nearby. It feels like you’ve wandered into New York by accident.
Like: vibe, wifi, great prices. Almost a place to be seen in.
Dislike: heavy traffic by the tables outside, naked artwork.
Decent Turkish cafe-restaurant. Good value food & drink, and surprisingly nice espresso too. (I didn’t try the Turkish coffee.)
Others – good Turkish food (think kebabs), alcoholic drinks.
A ‘proper’ Italian cafe, this serves alcoholic drinks, sandwiches and pasta as well as a range of pastries and ice creams, cold meats and biscotti.
It even has bottles of Amaro liquor.
Needless to say, the espresso is excellent.
With 10 or so tables, a small number of seats against the window, and even a couple of tables squeezing onto the side of the busy road outside, there’s plenty to enjoy. Perhaps not somewhere to stretch out and relax (although there is Wifi if you need to work or surf), but a great place nonetheless.
Others **** (ice cream, beer & wine, Italian banter…)
A new cafe near the end of Carter Lane – close to the City Thameslink exit – this is a coffee purist’s spot. The energetic guys behind the coffee machine know their coffee, and offer advice and cheerful suggestions as well as lessons every Thursday evening.
I tried the ‘Elixir’ espresso blend from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Bolivia – which was lovely. There’s also single estate – from Guatemala.
There are 12 stools around the windows and the modern interior is uncluttered and simple. There are a few items to eat – croissants and the like.
This bustling shopping area, with its associations with the swinging sixties London, is likely to be an expensive place for a decent coffee. Luckily, Sacred make a pretty decent cup. They also have some tables inside and outside that let you watch the (very fashionable) world go by, and there is no traffic to worry about.
Ice cream is the theme here – proper Italian ice cream. So where better to get a proper Italian espresso too?
Italian voices ring around the shop too – this is no ersatz copy, but the real thing.
So the coffee is excellent, I am relieved to say. Thick but not syrupy, short but not a smear. Full of rich flavour and textures. And for £1.40, a decent price for somewhere just 5 minutes off Oxford Street.
The shop is narrow but has a bench and about 5 high chairs. Downstairs there’s a lot more space, and tables. It looks clean, new and modern – very pleasant.
Others: lots of ice cream!
Not sure if it’s a sandwich bar, a ‘greasy spoon’ cafe, or an upmarket Starbucks alternative, this has a small sandwich and hot food bar upstairs and (surprisingly) about 9 tables in a modern basement seating area.
The espresso is pretty good too, although again that was unexpected, and the service is so business-like that it is difficult to know what to make of it. A coffee, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by mystery.
Environment *** (tho faint smell of damp in the basement is unfortunate)
Commute disaster turned into a lucky break – a chance to discover this great little Italian cafe-cum-cornershop just next to Arnos Grove tube station.
Great little coffees, lots of Italian produce – from ice cream to pasta and panettone. There’s one table and a couple of bench seats inside and two more tables outside – and europop on the TV in the corner. Lovely!
The 49 Cafe is a decent sandwich, pastry & pasta cafe with a few tables, very near the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury.