If there was one thing that I really wanted for my birthday, it was good coffee. Sure, I can make a pretty good cup with my moka and my ground La Colombe beans (phocea), but getting at a cafe, in that heavy ceramic mug, is magical. The corner of my couch with the slip cover falling off? Not so much.
In New York, I’m never at a loss for good coffee. I have a million (okay two) New York Coffee apps, I love urban spoon and I have Serious Eats in my google reader. I’m connected to the coffee world. London, however? I have no idea how to separate the good coffee shops from the mediocre ones.
When I go to London, I always want to find the authentic places to eat. Where the real London-ers go. To help me figure out I turn to Time Out. Last year, I found a list of the best cafes in London on their website and have ever-so-slowly been working my through their coffee tour of the city.
As I walked through London on that drizzly grey morning, I ambled around and trusted that my feet would lead me in the proper direction. This took me through Chinatown. It seemed appropriate. I was in the Lower East Side of London.
When I finally found Flat White, it looked like a hidden oasis on the busy street. Inside it was dark, warm and inviting. I ordered at the counter, sat down at the last remaining table and cozied up.
The cafe is small but spacious. There are plenty of tables running along the side with bench seating. A few have opposing seats, but most don’t. This makes it ideal to go on your own to enjoy some coffee, brunch and the paper. In fact, that’s what a lot of people were doing. I was in good company.
I, of course, ordered a Flat White.
When my it arrived, I took a moment to admire the gorgeous latte art. It was more complex than I’m used to. In fact, that was the coffee in a nut shell. More complex than I’m used to. I like to think that New York has some pretty great coffee, but if I’m being honest, this really blew all those over-sized cappuccini out of the water. The coffee was deep, but drinkable. Ideal to linger over and the perfect size.
I sat there for a while, sipping my flat white daintily and reading my book. Absorbing the atmosphere of the cool Londoners around me.
The cafe is extremely centrally located, but you’d need to know about it to find it. Next time you’re in central London, go. It’s a great size, a great atmosphere and great coffee. Perfect for my birthday.
Where do you look to decide where to eat on vacation? Or do you just let the spirit guide you?