Shoreditch Grind, Old St Roundabout

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Well, at £2.20 for the cheapest espresso it’s hardly a low cost option, and the two wood tables and benches around the windows provide only wooden stools and chairs, so comfort’s not premium.

Service (on a Sunday morning) is business-like rather than friendly, and so slow that a croissant and espresso took nearly 15 minutes to be brought to the table (there were probably four orders ahead of mine). In fact, I had to remind staff of the food order. So it has to be the coffee that justifies the price tag. Right?

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Well, it’s nice – treacle-ish and powerful. It’s good coffee. But overall, this place was very hard to love.

Coffee ****
£2.20
Environment **
Others ** (service & speed were poor)

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Grab Thai Kitchen, 5 Leonard Street. Old Street Station

Coffee: *** (Illy)
£1:30
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

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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.