Find a good flat white in London

Since the day I arrived in London coffee has been my luxury. I might not have been able to afford flash restaurants or weekend trips away (or even my rent to be honest) but I could fill my weekends with good coffee. For less than £3 I could sit in a heartrendingly hip London cafe, sip a flat white and dream big.

After almost three years here and an estimated 1,825 cups of coffee it really grinds my gears when people say “there is no good coffee in London”… fuck off back to your ignorant hobbit hole you decaffeinated little turd. There is some amazing coffee to be had in London, and most of it has made its way here via the antipodes. So I present to you my favourite spots, tried and tested time and time again – read on to discover where to find a good flat white in London.

To see them all on a map click here

White Mulberries

White Mullberries London

These guys have a really soft squishy special place in my heart. One of the first good coffee places I discovered in London, and because it looks out over the yachts of St Katherine Docks it reminds me of home. Tiny but amazing, especially if you can snag a seat outside next to the water. They have spot on coffee every single time and a great range of tempting counter food; oh and they once saved me a doughnut when I tweeted them #service

Notes of Music and Coffee

Notes of music and coffee

Another sentimental one for me, I first discovered these guys when I was visiting the National Gallery every weekend (even if you are not into art, come winter the National Gallery is a) warm and b) free). Beautiful coffee that they roast themselves, and if you sit there long enough the coffee turns to wine. They also have a barrow down at Borough Market which I always make a bee line to when I visit (I’m less likely to punch a tourist if I am pre-caffeinated).

Grounded Coffee Company

Grounded Coffee Company London

This is the new kid on the block and I love. Uniquely for London there is actually a fair bit of seating here, and the doors open up completely which makes you feel like you’re in a different city entirely. They also do a cracking brunch, but this cafe is so new that it missed out on my favourite brunch spots list… so it wound up here!

Flat White Soho

Flat White Soho amaze balls

I know, with a name like that would you expect anything else? Very tight on seating, but perfect to grab a coffee to go before you brave the crazy that is Oxford Street. If you are lucky they will also have their legendary Amazeballs which are essentially the balls of the gods and must be consumed in multiples of two.

The cafe with no name

Cafe with no name

Ok it actually does have a name, The Exmouth Coffee Company. But since it has no damn sign outside it is forever being described as The Cafe with No Name, and thus it is what everyone calls it. Again very consistent coffee (do I need to keep saying this, its a list of good coffee?), plus some delicious counter food including a bar that is just caramel and pecans NOTHING ELSE.

Fernandez and Wells

Fernandez and Wells

Mostly focussing on cured meats and cheese, they are the perfect spot for a mid-touristing coffee. The outlook over the courtyard of Somerset House is something truly special.

Timberyard

Timberyard Salted Caramel Affogato

Do yourself a favour and go to Timberyard this summer, order the Salted Caramel Affogato and then accept that you will never have such joy dancing across your taste buds as you do at this moment. For all you health conscious freaks of nature that don’t believe in ice cream first thing on a Sunday morning they also do a kick ass flat white and other treats such as peanut butter brownie.

Prufrock

Prufrock London coffee machine

Prufrock is the shit, if I was going to stage a hostile takeover and move my bed into a cafe it would be Prufrock that got the unholy honour. This place is huge by London standards and has free wifi so is ideal for blog hopping. If you go it’s almost compulsory to get a brownie bite to go with your flat white, and if you are a true rebel you will let it soak up the dregs (trust me on this).

Fields

Feilds Cafe Clapham

Ok so I HATED the brunch here, it was a weirdly coloured salt city on a plate. However the coffee was on point and served in a very cute little bubble glass. So I would return just for the flat white if I ever ventured south of the river.

Fuckoffee

Bermondsy Street Coffee

These guys are worth a visit just to get the coffee card alone. Now don’t be confused when you don’t see the ever glorious flat white on the menu, its written up there at ‘fat wife’…I can’t speak for the sense of humour but the coffee it worth the pretense. A sister cafe to Brick Lane Coffee, both cafes have some very cool art on the walls and music tends to be pumping all day. With a tag line of ‘come happy leave edgy’ you know the coffee is strong and should be injected directly into the eyeballs.

Watch House Coffee

Watch House Coffee

Crap I love this place, so damn cute. It’s worth a visit just to check out the curved wooden benches with inbuilt USB ports for charging your phone. Go early because it is a cafe that is slightly smaller than life-sized.

The Wren

The Wren Flat White London

You walk inside and feel like you are walking on hallowed ground. Although given that the Wren is good coffee in the chain coffee death zone that is the area between St Pauls and Tate Modern maybe it is just a little bit holy. When the law finally changes and lets me marry coffee I will hold the ceremony in front of the stained glass of the Wren. #singleforever

Cream

Cream shoreditch

The first time I wen’t I wasn’t a huge fan of their flat white (too milky for my taste) but it makes the list because coffee lovers I respect rave about it, and fuck it everyone has their own taste in coffee (maybe I just need to order down a cup size??). Plus this cafe makes you feel like you have been transported to Titirangi by lining the walls with plants and light. Very very chillaxing.

Curators Coffee Gallery

Curators Coffee Gallery Matcha Flat White

I think these guys do good coffee. I say that because I made a grave error here by trying a matcha flat white because all the other hipsters mums let them do it. The most positive review I could give a matcha flat white is that it tastes like a really nice pond scum…NB I don’t like green tea so no idea what I was thinking even trying it. The coffee I had afterwards was good but I was so busy retching over bits of pond scum that I think it might have been amazing and I just didn’t notice.

Holborn Grind

Holborn Grind

Part of the Grind chain you can always be sure of two things when you visit – that you will get a really good flat white and that apple computers will outnumber actual conversations.

Tonic Coffee Bar

Tonic Coffee London

If you are brave enough to get off the tube and walk through the mini-New York that is Piccadilly Circus then Tonic can be your reward. No seating but great coffee so worth adding an extra couple of minutes onto your City Mapper journey so you can pick up a flat white on the move.

Freestate Coffee

Freestate Coffee London

This place is always packed and rightfully so with coffee as good as this. Even being the introvert that I am I ask to share a table with a stranger just so I can imbibe the perfect flat white on the spot.

 

Brunch spots that I love

Alpress Espresso Flat White
The London Coffee Festival is on at the Old Truman Brewery this weekend, I ran down in my lunch break today to see what caffeinated fun was on offer DEAR GOD LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.

1. There is no such thing as too much coffee

Seriously I am a coffee drinking machine, I laugh at this puny coffee festival. I am the master of the bean FLAT WHITE ME BABY.

2. Yes there are a lot of hipsters at a coffee festival, but also just a lot of normal people that like coffee too

Even though the London Coffee Festival was in Shoreditch not everyone there had a beard. I even put away my Python-esque beard that I normally wear out in hipster areas of London. I would go as far as to say there were people there today who were just Londoners who liked coffee. There were even tea stands there for people who don’t like coffee…but we don’t talk about those weirdos.

3. There are some new style coffee roasters out there who are not at all snobby

Assembly Coffee Roasters

I met Rory from Assembly coffee and I might or might not have fallen in love with him. I mean I told him that I was after his espresso, but actually that was my way of proposing marriage (seriously Rory, tweet me #iloveyou). Anyway Assembly coffee is a roaster without the snobbery, it is a cafe collective that allows the drinker to discover the flavours for themselves. The cool blend logos give hints to what flavours you could pick up in the beans (yellow for lemon etc), but at the end of the day if you like it, drink it.

4. There are coffee roasters outside London

Freehand Coffee Roasters

The name caught my eye, the artwork drew me in, the coffee made me stay. Freehand coffee is a roaster from Cornwall (apparently this is outside Zone 1???) that only launched YESTERDAY. I know, brave guys starting their business amongst the stiff competition of the London Coffee Festival. The coffee was super smooth and is one I will be keeping my eye out for.

5. I still feel sad 5 hours later that I missed Timberyard

Timberyard is a weekend favorite of mine, and I was looking out for them. When I discovered after I left that they had been serving boozy salted caramel affogatos a solitary tear rolled down my cheek. Those affogatos are my magic trick for making a depressed weekend come right, and adding booze? My god it might have been better than kittens. Any chance of this making an appearance at your cafes Timberyard gods?

6. I can be bribed.

Fields Cafe Bribe

A strange man came up to me and offered me a bribe. I turned it down because I am a totally ethical blogger (lies I 100% took it and it was for a kick ass coffee at Fields).

7. When confronted by a flat white sized Keep Cup the answer is yes

phoenix_sx_368x438

How the hell did I become the sort of person who has TWO Keep Cups. I might have had about four coffees by this point and as soon as I saw they had a special flat white (6oz) cup it just had to be mine. Apologies to everyone nearby who hears me yell Ermahgerd FLAT WHITE at the top of my caffeinated lungs.

8. Some people don’t understand Instagram

Not kidding, when I asked one roaster (who shall remain nameless) if I could take a picture of their coffee they looked really confused and asked “why?”. Ummm I don’t know maybe because it was the press/industry day at the festival and bloggers like photos? The reason it remains nameless wasn’t because of the photo thing…it was because the coffee was just meh.

9. There is such a thing as too much coffee

Turns out that having 6 shots of coffee in an hour while on your lunch break is TOO MUCH COFFEE. For the rest of the afternoon I was typing at the speed of sound but all it said was COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

Mondays Cafe Auckland
Sometimes you want healthy. I mean don’t get me wrong it still has to be tasty as fuck, but healthy none the less. After a week of indulgence (my parents were showering me with love in the form of food) I needed to consume something that wasn’t full of sugar, carbs or alcohol*. Here however formed the dilemma, I wanted guilt free but I still wanted the café vibe. Enter Mondays.

Mondays Cafe

Hidden down a driveway in Kingsland (hidden being the operative work, you have to be Sherlock to find it) is Mondays, a wholefood café that specialises in raw, vegan and simply delicious food. It is the darling creation of Eleanor the brains behind the Petite Kitchen blog and the cookbook of the same name. I actually went to primary school with Eleanor, and am glad that the old Mums network that keeps an eye on all the people you went to school with is alive and well; after all it led me to Mondays!

I went for a chia seed parfait (black chia seeds, coconut cream, vanilla bean and fruit) and my Mum went with the papaya boat filled with paleo granola. Mum was shocked beyond belief that hers was actually served in half a papaya. NB: for anyone who lives outside NZ fruits like papaya are redonkulously expensive. It was lovely sitting out in the sunshine with Mum, feeling angelic for eating this healthy food as we planned a trip to a vineyard.

Mondays Wholefood coffee

This was also the ultimate in ‘oh my god bloggers are such a pain in the ass’ experience for Mum. Now, all bloggers know that bright direct sunshine is not ideal for food pictures. The light reflects weirdly and shadows creep over the food when you try to take an overhead shot. Not wanting to be too much of a bother I attempted to take a couple of photos but was dissatisfied with the results. I put my camera away giving up on the blog post, but Mum took that moment to get all… efficient.

Mondays Wholefoods Papaya Boat

Picking up two plates and a coffee she marched MARCHED from the small garden where we were sitting around to the front of the building. Picking another table (out of the direct sun) she put the food down and looked at me. Seeing the ‘hurry up I want to drink my coffee’ look on her face I took photos as fast as I could. Imagine how much better my blog would be if I lived with Mum full time…

 

*of course, if you asked my parents they would say that travelling with me is like traveling with a misbehaving 3 year old who demands ice-cream every ten minutes…

Orphans Kitchen Brunch

Because what is a trip to Auckland without a serious amount of brunch? Two highlights for me were Orphans Kitchen in Ponsonby and Dear Jervois on Jervois Road, both suggested by my big sister. As mentioned before in New Zealand it’s not about just getting the poached eggs right, its all about brunch innovation. I genuinely can’t think of a café in London that even comes close to matching these two in the innovation stakes. I think you could say that Duck and Waffle et al are comparable food wise, but they are high concept restaurants, these Auckland beauties are just humble cafes. Humble cafes that kick the London offering to the curb.

Orphans Kitchen

My visit to Orphans Kitchen got off to a sunny and entertaining start. The table next to us was obviously a group of old friends, but when the waiter went over to take their order there was a shriek and hugs all around. Turns out one of the group had just come back from overseas, but instead of a normal off the plane welcome had decided to pose as a waiter in Orphans Kitchen to surprise them, super cute.

Brunch at Orphans Kitchen Auckland

The food here was tricky, I honestly couldn’t find anything I wanted on the menu. Talk about innovation, there was no easy ‘poached eggs with bacon’ offering here, and I just couldn’t picture the end product from what was on the menu. But getting hangry I let my sister choose for me, and by gods it was good. Mum went for the breakfast panna cotta with kiwifruit and buffalo milk (why had no one thought of a breakfast panna cotta before?!?!), my sister for the black rice pudding with tamarillo, blood orange, and banana (above) and chosen for me was the  roasted avocado with bacon, feijoa and vine tomatoes…heaven.

Dear Jervois

Dear Jervois brunch

Dear Jervois was an interesting one, I LOVED it and my parents had the opposite view. It was all down to how busy it was. In London I am 100% used to battling the crowds to get to food, and while I refuse to wait for brunch I find sitting cheek by jowl totally normal. My parents however are used to the kiwi luxury of a more peaceful spaced out brunch, which is not what you get at the very popular Dear Jervois.

Dear Jervois sage fried eggs

But as always the food is most important. Well maybe not the coffee is important to and we had to send back the first round because they were cold. Eh. Anyway the food was yum, the highlight for me was the sage fried eggs that just did something stratospheric to my taste buds. I would have married those eggs if I could. And the interior was beautiful, for those who did have to wait they wrote their names in a chalk pen on the tiled wall. Love.

Oh and the second round of coffee was AMAZING.

Dear Jervois coffee