Our favourite London spots.
Faye Mitchell | Spitalfields House Manager
In cities across the world, different incarnations of café culture and speciality coffee are thriving. Locations as far reaching as Berlin, Tokyo and Dublin are constantly developing a unique sense of where cafés fit into their wider cultural identity; inviting locals and tourists to celebrate all that can come from getting together over a great cup of coffee.
Far less concerned with trends, the London coffee scene is busy focusing on exploring and experimenting with process, delivery and product. With an established reputation for pushing the boundaries of culture, a diverse range of perspectives is one of the factors that makes London such an exciting place to explore the industry. Always on the lookout to experience the best of what London’s café culture has to offer, we’ve rounded up a few of the city’s gems we think are making waves amidst the ever-evolving speciality scene.
Ozone | 11 Leonard St. EC2A 4AQ | Emma St. E2 9AP
A relatively under-utilised concept in the UK for so long, antipodeans have been perfecting the café experience for years and thank goodness many businesses have blessed us with all they’ve learnt. Hailing from New Zealand, Ozone has been pioneers in London since the launch of their first site and roastery in 2012. Ozone’s offering focuses on quality hospitality and community, as their ethos understands these elements to be the most important in the success of their operation. From breakfast through to dinner a large percentage of all menus are now plant-based, so there really is something for everyone and a sustainable and ethical attitude from produce to plate. Both sites are designed with a strong industrial sense but undeniably approachable; high ceilings and broad booth seating really encourages a communal feel. The coffee offering changes with their roast schedule, giving you the opportunity to taste something new and exciting with each visit
Above: Gorgeous Ozone Emma Street
Browns of Brockley | 5-6 Coulgate St. SE4 2RW
Right next to Brockley Station, Browns of Brockley is everything a neighbourhood café should be. This friendly space serves up coffee from Square Mile, one of London’s most reputable large-scale speciality roasteries, and offers some of the best homemade cakes around. Their banana bread alone has a strong following; check out their Instagram for weekly updates on slices sold and other hilarious insights into the reality of running a café. Simple and truly effective, Brown’s isn’t a complicated concept but something so many others struggle to get right time and again. They provide a hard to find sense of comfort in an expansive city, and a visit will always leave you feeling like a local.
Above: Exterior Browns of Brockley
Over Under Coffee | Earl’s Court | West Brompton | Wandsworth | Manchester
Over Under Coffee is a fresh addition to the scene in West London, although has made a rapid expansion up to Manchester alongside a mobile service improving the coffee offering of all kinds of private events. Under Over notably provides consistency, a key component in standing out in a now hugely saturated market. Working with roasts from Assembly, you’ll notice the same great coffee and friendly service is apparent throughout everything they do. Their aesthetic is undeniably cool – chic contemporary interiors well worth relaxing in day and night as some of their locations transform into cocktails bars come sundown.
Above: The Over Under shop in Earl's Court
MILK | 18-20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG
There are two things you need to know when visiting Milk. At the weekends you’ll probably have to queue for a table, but it is 100% worth it. And you will want to spend some time getting Insta worthy shots of the food once it arrives, but no one will blame you. Another venue heavily inspired by the antipodean approach to cafés, Milk has developed a cult following since it opened its doors and for good reason. The food is creative and delicious, flying out of the open kitchen at a speed almost unbelievable for its size. Crowds return for longstanding menu favourites like ‘The Convict’ (the breakfast muffin to end all breakfast muffins), and the fresh rotation of specials spicing things up every week. What is truly impressive is Milk’s attention to detail, from homemade kombucha, cakes and kasundi, to dishes garnished with foraged edible flowers. Coffee from The Barn also means that your speciality caffeine hit is well a truly catered for when you drop into this light filled spot in South London.
Above: Milk Balham corner café | Credits: Anna Ricketts
Prufrock Coffee | 23-25 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TE
Director and former UK and World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies have a reputation as a driving figure of Third Wave coffee in London, so Prufrock is a go-to café for a more serious fix of speciality coffee. This spacious venue attracts a wide-ranging industry crowd, houses the Barista Resource and Training centre and holds regular public events. Their commitment to education and precision certainly reflects in the customer experience and anything you want to learn you’ll find the team on hand to answer your questions. Whether you’re new to speciality coffee or familiar and hungry for more, you can’t help but come away inspired. If you stop in for a refuel, you’ll find an array of amazing sweet and savoury baked goods made in house, and a classic café menu sourced from the best quality suppliers.