Best Coffee Shops In Central London
Any day out in cental London needs a few coffee stops to punctuate it. I'm a big fan of the fine coffee purveyors of Covent Garden and Soho, and have reviewed a few of my favourite central London coffee shops below.
Milk Bar (Bateman St, Soho, London W1D 4AG)
Excellent Kiwi coffee house, sister of Flat White (see below), and my favourite establishment at the moment. Uses the same blend of coffee beans as Monmouth Coffee Company's default take-away; that is the stuff with the delicious slightly liquoricey edge to it. Dark and chilled atmosphere, funky art work, and limited but tasty food selection of salads, decent sandwiches (think gorgonzola, butternut squash and rocket focaccia; not limp cheese and onion triangles!) and muffins/cakes.
Highlight: Fantastic coffee -- can't beat their flat whites.
Great for: Reading the paper over lunch; social coffee with small group.
Bar Italia (Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RP)
Authentic Italian café bar that does a smooth and delicious latte. Their blend doesn't quite have the kick of eg. Milk Bar, but it's good stuff, and goes down very well with a prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and basil panino. Nearby Soho Square provides alternative summertime seating if they've run out on the street outside.
Highlight: Sitting in the sun with a latte and panino
Great for: Lunch with friends
Bullet Café (Mercer St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9QA)
A hidden gem on the 3rd floor of the Snow and Rock outdoors-equipment store in Covent Garden. This one's a lot quieter than the rest mentioned here, largely because there's virtually no signage advertising its presence. But it's its lack of crowds that's one of its greater assets -- you can linger with a paper or friends for as long as you fancy without feeling the glances of the next customer who wants your table. The coffee's great too. Not quite Milk Bar / Flat White great, but nearly.
Highlight: Chilling out with a flat white and a muffin
Great for: Escaping the shopping hordes in Covent Garden
Flat White (Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 0PT)
A smaller coffee shop that pre-dates but shares owners with Milk Bar. Same excellent blend and top notch flat whites with obligatory intricate latte-art, but in a slightly smaller venue. The diminutive size lends Flat White a slightly frantic atmosphere as the queue of new customers is squeezed up against those leaving and others at the tables. Not that this is a bad thing -- the place certainly has energy -- but it's more of a quick hit and go than a venue to read the paper, at least at weekend daytimes anyway.
Highlight: Flat white with a slice of cardamom flavoured chocolate cake.
Great for: Quick energising coffee for two.
Monmouth Coffee Company (27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9EU)
Tiny, beans and takeout-only, place with a bench outside if you want to sit. Monmouth supply beans to some of shops above and do a fantastic espresso / cappucino themselves.
Highlight: Massive choice of beans
Great for: Stocking up on beans or a quick cappucino on your way into Covent Garden.
Lantana (13 Charlotte Place Fitzrovia London W1T 1SN)
I've only been here once because it's closed on Sundays, my main day for having coffee 'out', but it deserves a mention anyway. It's a great little cafe with an (apparently) Australian breakfast and lunch menu .
Highlight: The cappucinos are pretty good
Great for: A weekday brunch stop
Nordic Bakery (Golden Square, Soho, London W1F 9JG)
A great selection of Scandinavian food and not bad coffee on the western side of Soho.
Highlight: Cinammon glazed buns with a cappucino, mmmmmm.
Great for: Coffee and a snack with space for a larger group.
There's more tasty coffee places in central London as I find them bookmarked at http://www.delicious.com/martynj/coffee