There's a fusion of styles as well as flavours at the laid back Caravan in Exmouth Market which combines a main dining room with a bar and coffee roastery in the basement. From the freshly made flat whites to the clued-up but casual staff, it's easy to see the influence of the owners - all four of whom hail from New Zealand. These include head chef Miles Kirby, who moved from the Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone - where he's been receiving glowing reviews for the last six years - to join general manager, Chris Ammermann, who can often be found welcoming customers front of house. With Caravan they take you on a culinary journey from China to Japan, the Middle East and Austria, with the fry-up the only nod to Antipodean tastes. The focus is on all-day dishes divided into snacks, small plates and big plates, sides and puddings presented as breakfast, all-day and brunch menus on weekends. It's delivered with a relaxed vibe that's entirely in keeping with the Exmouth Market ethos and can only add to the appeal of a night out in the pedestrianised area lit by twinkling fairy lights overhead.
Best London Cafés
There's a coffee roastery in the basement of this restaurant.
11-13 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QD
Tube: Farringdon Station
the beans are roasted on site at this friendly cafe.
67 Broadway Market, Hackney, London, E8 4PH
Tube: Bethnal Green 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.
Whole beans can be bought by the bag at this cafe.
31-35 Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3HZ
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 Square Mile, the barista's supplier of choice, made using La Marzocco - the rolls royce of espresso machines. Whole beans sold by the bag are supplied by Has Bean and Square Mile, and tea - posh and builders - is also available. On the food menu they have sandwiches substantial enough for lunch - the ham and mustard roll is good - and a selection of cakes, muffins and meringues for those of a sweet tooth.
This popular coffee shop gives the high street chains a run for their money.
17 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0PT
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.
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 July 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 chips and ice cream for the kids and alcohol 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. If you like Ginger & White Hampstead, you'll be pleased to know you can find two further branches in Belsize Park and Soho.
Ausralian cafe with good flat white coffee.
13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1SN
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. Chose from brioche French toast, Scottish smoked salmon and poached eggs or slow cooked Boston baked beans. 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. You can read her highly rated food blog at scramblingeggs.blogspot.co.uk. Such has been the success of Lantana that a larger sister cafe, Salvation Jane, opened in Shoreditch in 2012.
London's original coffee house is a premiere importer of coffee beans in the UK.
27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DD
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. These days her presence in the retail market is still very low key - two shops and a market stall. Nevertheless, Monmouth Coffee is regarded as the premiere importer of coffee beans in the UK. Bearing this is mind, Monmouth Coffee Company is more of a shop than a cafe. As you walk in the door, 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 (the coffee truffles were an experience to be savoured). The cafe section is squeezed (just about) into the back of the shop. There are four or five snug (read cramped) alcoves in an L-shape around the kitchenette where they prepare the coffee. One of the tables looked incapable of comfortably accommodating even a pygmy. Despite the tight space the atmosphere is quite relaxed.
French bakery that serves an array of fresh food.
29 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9ED
Paul is one of London's premier French bakery and patisseries and is regularly rammed at lunchtime. Dating back to 1889, it has over 200 outlets in France, two in London and even one in Dubai. Designed to conjure up classic images of the Parisian café, the only non-authentic touches are the lack of wine and the no smoking policy. Feast on their outrageously fresh produce including a range of quiches, tartines and soups with warm bread rolls. L'assiette de charcuterie offers a splendid selection of cold meats while side dishes such as chunky potato slices and a juicy tomato salad compliment perfectly. All dishes are simple, well made and nicely presented. Make sure you save room for their delicious pastries, crépes and tartes. Perfect for those seeking a luxury lunch or pining for cross channel confectionery.
New Zealand-style cafe with good coffee and fresh food.
13 Ganton Street, off Carnaby Street, Soho, London, W1F 9BL
Tube: Oxford Circus Station
Think coffee and you may think Seattle, home of the coffee shop chains, or Italians sipping Espresso, gesturing flamboyantly. What you probably won't think of is New Zealand. But we've come across a couple of outstanding coffee shops in the capital only to find, on further investigation, that their owners hail from the antipodean isle, better known for its rolling hills than its cafe culture. Here they roast a mellow, organic fair-trade coffee that you'd typically find in New Zealand. In addition to your Cappuccinos, Mochaccinos and Americanos you get a Flat White, a local speciality from back home which tops a long espresso with velvety milk. You'll be addicted.
Workshop Coffee Co. is a coffee bar, cafe, roastery and all round lovely place to sit, sip and relax.
27 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 5RN
Workshop Coffee Co. (previously St Ali) is a coffee bar, cafe, roastery and all round lovely place to sit, sip and relax. It is the sister cafe of a much-loved Melbourne coffee shop whose owners looked considerably farther a field when choosing the location of their second branch, finally deciding on trendy Farringdon, just a mere 10,000 miles away. Open seven days a week this place is so much more than a local coffee shop. The menu has the variety to please everyone from the caffeine connoisseur to the foodie families and should even satisfy the hunger of the hungover Sunday morning visitors. The mouth-watering menu has lots of hearty breakfast specials like the house braised beans and with salted ricotta, lemon and mint truffled mascarpone. Or the French toast with Bramley lemon curd mascarpone, caramelised cardamom apples and walnuts. Lunch is equally as alluring with Asian inspired tacos, juicy hamburgers and big and bold salads. The service is good, and seems really genuine. The decor is very Clerkenwell, exposed brick walls lots of lovely wood, its like a cosy urban warehouse filled with the smell of freshly roasting coffee beans.
10th December 2013
IN THIS ARTICLE
Climpson & Sons
The Espresso Room
Ginger & White
Monmouth Coffee House Company
Workshop Coffee Co.
A Traditional London Picnic
Best London Cafés
Restaurants for Kids in London
Celebrity Chefs in London
Best Gastropubs in London
Best Sunday Lunch in London
Top London Restaurants
LondonTown's Favourite Restaurants
London's Most Romantic Restaurants
London's Best British Restaurants
London's Al Fresco Food Spots
- A Traditional London Picnic
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