My first destination. No day of exploring a new city can be undertaken without coffee.
I’ve long stopped being amazed by major cities without an established coffee scene, it just happens all too frequently. So many people, so much diversity, no good coffee. London is no exception to that rule, in fact, it probably invented it.
Fortunately, there are Australians and New Zealanders around to set things right. The Flat White, that quirky little antipodean creation of a shot of espresso with some nicely textured milk is such a well known quantity down under that it’s almost the default when no other information is given. “2 coffees mate”, quite easily translates to “2 Flat Whites please, and thank you kindly sir”.
When I arrived in the store I instantly felt at home. Tucked into a lovely little street in Soho, Flat White is a mecca for quality espresso and milk based coffees in London. Owned by an Aussie and a Kiwi and staffed mostly (i thunk) by Kiwi’s, who really take their coffee seriously.
I started with a flat white, beautifully textured milk and a rich full flavoured double on the bottom, presented with a near perfect rosetta poured from eye level… which ranked well up with some of nicer coffees I’ve had anywhere. Then onto an espresso, pulled as a short double. Super syrupy and sweet, a little bright, but overall very punchy. I was hooked. A piccolo latte to finish off and I was set for my coffee needs for the day.
Flat White (and their sister store Milk Bar, also in Soho) are amongst the first commercial contracts for none other than Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Latest and greatest addition to the artisan roasting world in London and beyond. They used to be using Monmouth coffee, which seemed to be the roaster of choice amongst anyone who cared up until recently, but with a team like Square Mile behind you, it’s scary to think just how good it might get.
So this was a fantastic first experience which I was soon to discover is vastly non-representative of the rest of English coffee :|
17 Berwick St, Soho