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Best London Cafes

 
 
 
 
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Bar Termini

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Bar Termini
Caravan
Climpson & Sons
Jacob the Angel
Jacob the Angel
Ginger & White
Sacred Cafe
Sacred Cafe
 

 

England is renowned for its love of tea but London is gradually gaining respect as a great place to uncover, experience and indulge in artisan coffee. Therefore, new cafés and coffee shops are constantly opening throughout the city. Here LondonTown.com looks beyond the high street chains and outlines the best cafes in London.

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Bar Termini

Authentic Italian pit stop from Marco Arrigo, head of quality for Illy, and cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro.

7 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 5JE

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Tottenham Court Road Station, Covent Garden Station

 
 

Authentic Italian pit stop Bar Termini does two things: coffee and cocktails. And does them well. Coffee is overseen by Marco Arrigo, head of quality for Illy, cocktails are supervised by Tony Conigliaro, who is credited with creating cool cocktails at 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse. It's a small space with room for just 25 people, and there's seated service only, unless you're having a quick, single shot espresso on the run. The coffee list has just four brews, ideal as a morning starter, while the cocktails - high up there among the best in London - are just the thing for a pre-dinner sharpener. Prices for coffee are higher than the norm but you do get a triple espresso shot. Cocktails, by contrast, are cheap for this quality and the Soho location. The alcohol list has four negronis, seven cocktails, three wines, a bottled beer and limoncello. Bar Termini does also offer food: baked goods from L'Anima in Shoreditch by day, charcuterie and cheese by night.

 
 
 

Caravan

Coffee is a 'thing' at Caravan - they have their own roastery - and weekend brunch is big here too.

11-13 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QD

Tube: Farringdon Station

 
 

Coffee is a 'thing' at Caravan - they have their own roastery - and weekend brunch is big here too. With several branches across London, including King's Cross, Fitzrovia, Bankside, the City and, the original, Exmouth Market. From the freshly made flat whites to the clued-up but casual staff, it's easy to see the influence of the owners at all of the branches, all four of whom hail from New Zealand. Not just good for coffee - though that is their strength - Caravan is known for its all-day food menus, pizzas, daily bakes and a globally-inspired menu.  The spaces are ideal for laptop workers and coffee by day and food, cocktails and masterclasses by night. 

 
 
 

Jacob the Angel

A hidden gem from the team behind The Barbary and The Palomar.

16 1/2 Neal's Yard, London, WC2H 9DP

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

From the team behind The Barbary and The Palomar, Jacob the Angel is a trendy little cafe in the colourful Neal's Yard. Taking its name from England's first coffeehouse - Oxford's seventeenth-century The Angel - the intimate venue only has seating for ten so it's angled towards takeout, with a daily changing menu drawing the crowds. For breakfast, there's toasted sourdough topped with avocado (of course) as well as soft boiled eggs, ricotta, baba ganoush and labneh while lunch offers a selection of seasonal salads and specials. For something a little more indulgent, tuck into the brownies and coconut cream pies. With aesthetically-pleasing interiors, friendly staff and great coffee, this is a hidden gem in the heart of London.

 
 
 

Climpson & Sons

The beans are roasted on site at this friendly cafe.

67 Broadway Market, Hackney, London, E8 4PH

Tube: Bethnal Green Underground Station

 
 

Although Climpson and Sons the butchers closed its doors in the 1960s, the legacy of the name lives on in the form of this popular London cafe in Broadway Market. Hackney's equivalent to the excellent Monmouth Coffee Company, they not only sell it by the cup load but they also roast their own beans (just down the street at number 10 Broadway Market). Since opening in 2004, it has become hugely popular with coffee conosseurs who are prepared to travel to this hip corner of East London to get their fix. They also do a breakfast and lunch menu using produce from local businesses - including some excellent flapjacks. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed - even if it does get overly busy especially on a Saturday when the market is the place to hang out.

 
 
 

The Espresso Room

One of London's best, and first, speciality coffee shops.

31-35 Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3HZ

Tube: Russell Square Station , Holborn Station

 
 

A small but perfectly formed independent coffee shop, The Espresso Room has just got room enough to house coffee, tea, sandwiches, cakes and whole beans by the bag as well as seating for a few - maybe four - customers. Across the road from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children this is a welcome place to stop (especially if you're working the late shift) for on-the-go coffee. British owner Ben Townsend has set up this artisan coffee shop to bring the people of Bloomsbury a delicious cup of coffee using beans by Caravan made using La Marzocco - the Rolls Royce of espresso machines. Whole beans are sold by the bag and tea - posh and builders - is also available. On the food menu, they have a selection of classic brunch dishes ­- avocado on toast, pancakes, a full English and French toast, all of which are available to have in or take away. The Espresso Room now also has branches in Covent Garden, Holborn and Southampton Row.

 
 
 
 

Ginger & White

British themed coffee shop that puts a ban on anything overly milky.

4a-5a Perrin's Court, Hampstead , London, NW3 1QS

Tube: Hampstead Station

 
 

Ginger & White is a British themed coffee shop which prides itself on its artisan produce and espresso based coffee. In 2009 three friends who were fed up with the "pints of milky nothingness" they were being served set up the first Ginger & White in Hampstead. As parents themselves, food stylist Tania George and restaurant managers Emma and Nicholas Scott have created a family friendly cafe with lukewarm hot chocolate for the kids and strong coffee on offer for the grown-ups. The menu changes with the seasons but you can usually get salted beef, smoked salmon sandwiches, all the coffee formats - flat white, mocha and latte - and some seriously good sweet things including lemon drizzle and ginger loaf with a thick layer of icing sugar on top. They're clearly doing something right given how busy it gets, especially on the weekends when you may well have to queue up for your share of the communal table.

 
 
 

Flat White

A small, friendly cafe offering a good quality caffeine fix.

17 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0PT

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station , Piccadilly Circus Station, Leicester Square Station

 
 

Frequently featured in 'top ten' lists for the best coffee shops in London, Flat White, in Berwick Street, Soho, is a small, noisy, friendly cafe where Aussies and Kiwis can get the caffeine fix they enjoy back home. Set up in 2008, Flat White was one of the first Antipodean run cafes in London to challenge the domination of the high street coffee chain giants. Just a few short years ago, we didn't even know what a flat white was. Now the caffeinated cuppa - stronger, smaller and less milky than a latte, much like a cappuccino but with less froth - is the beverage of choice among the more discerning coffee drinkers. This small, buzzing cafe often attracts queues out the door and it can be hard to get a seat. Better to get a take-out and enjoy your flat white while walking down Berwick Street Market. If you do stay in, there's also an all-day brunch menu and freshly-baked pastries and bread.

 
 
 

Lantana

Australian cafe with good flat white coffee.

13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1SN

Tube: Goodge Street Station , Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

Tucked away down a lane off Goodge Street, Lantana [lan-tan-uh] is a trendy Australian cafe named after a hardy weed that thrives in unlikely environments - an apt name for a cafe which has flourished on foreign soil since opening in 2008. Flat white coffee, corn fritters and toasted banana bread are the most popular orders but it's worth trying others things from the menu which often changes to keep it interesting. Choose from shredded confit duck hash, a salmon poke bowl, and breakfast tacos. Though small, the cafe has outdoor seating and the kind of individuality you get from an independent cafe when its owner, Shelagh Ryan, has grown up infused with an enthusiasm for the cafe culture of her home town, Melbourne. Such has been the success of Lantana that there are now two more branches with one in London Bridge and one in Shoreditch.

 
 
 

Monmouth Coffee Company

London's original coffee house is a premier importer of coffee beans in the UK.

27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

Long before Starbucks, Costa, et al were peddling their wares on every street corner in London, Anita Le Roy had her foot on the English coffee ladder and today Monmouth Coffee is regarded as the premier importer of coffee beans in the UK. When you enter one of the two London cafes - found in Covent Garden and Borough Market - you're faced with rows of bins full of aromatic beans, their lush scent spilling invitingly over the top. The counter is strewn with all sorts of good-looking pastries and the coffee menu features organic filter coffee along with everything from flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos to espresso, macchiatos and piccolos.

 
 
 

Sacred Cafe

New Zealand-style cafe with good coffee and fresh food.

13 Ganton Street, off Carnaby Street, Soho, London, W1F 9BL

Tube: Oxford Circus Station

 
 

One of the first London cafes to put flat whites (a long espresso topped with velvety milk) on the menu, Sacred Cafe was born out of the desire to bring a New Zealand coffee experience to London. Specialising in the antipodean cafe culture, the flat whites are the headline act but you can also opt for a cappuccino, mochaccino or Americano, all made with the Sacred-branded mellow, organic fair-trade coffee beans. Sacred now has four coffee shops across London with outlets on Ganton Street and The Strand as well as in Westfield London and Highbury.

 
 
 
 

Tamp Coffee

Mission Coffee Works top quality coffee is lovingly prepared at the excellent Devonshire Road cafe in Chiswick.

1 Devonshire Road, London, W4 2EU

Tube: Turnham Green Station

 
 

On a typical sunny Thursday lunchtime Tamp Coffee owner Dorian can be found sitting on the terrace outside the cafe, sampling the latest food to be sold in the Devonside Road cafe - coco pops on our visit. On hand to welcome and enthuse about the top quality coffee lovingly prepared here, he explains they use coffee roasted for them by Mission Coffee Works in Clapton. They're all about the coffee at Tamp and it shows in the taste - this has to rank as among the best in London. The laid back vibe welcomes you in and you're soon hooked on the smooth, puffiness of the cheese and spinach filled empanadas from Borough Market. They also host special events, from jamon nights on Thursday evenings to live guitar sessions on Sunday afternoons. Chances are you'll meet Simba, a rather large and adorable Rhodesian ridgeback - a puppy when the coffee shop first started in 2014, he has grown as Tamp Coffee has too.

 
 
 

The Monocle Cafe

Enjoy coffee, cake and intelligent conversation.

18 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7QA

Tube: Baker Street Station

 
 

Just around the corner from Midori House, home of Monocle magazine - a publication which covers everything from current affairs to culture in an intelligent way - is The Monocle Cafe where you can enjoy coffee, cake... and intelligent conversation. The Chiltern Street cafe, which is also nearby the Monocle shop just off Marylebone High Street, offers 'simple dishes and hearty drinks' and creamy roll cakes. Catch up on all the latest with Monocle 24 broadcast live from the cafe and leave time to get absorbed in back issues of Monocle magazine. They also have a meeting and event space available for hire to subscribers - subscribe and you get all the latest global news from over 30 correspondents from Beirut to Milan, Washington to Singapore, delivered to your door 10 times a year. Recommended.

 
 
 

Prufrock Coffee

This hip, two-floor cafe serves some of the best coffee in town.

23-25 Leather Lane, London, EC1N 7TE

Tube: Chancery Lane Station , Farringdon Station

 
 

Boasting Gwilym Davies - a former World Barista Champion - as one of its directors, Prufrock is renowned for serving some of the best coffee in town. Set over two floors in one of London's hippest neighbourhoods, the large Leather Lane cafe attracts everyone from hipsters to families, and with free wifi, it's great for meetings, working or simply socialising. The coffee comes from award-winning UK roasters Square Mile as well as featured roasters from Europe. You can even sign up for one of the cafe's coffee training courses - choose from foundation courses, intermediate courses and advanced courses. There's also more to Prufrock than coffee, with a range of seasonal, home-cooked food for breakfast and lunch as well as sweet and savoury baked goods made daily at the in-house bakery.

 
 
 
 
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