1. Bar Italia
Coffee bars come and coffee bars go, but this little gem opposite Ronnie Scott’s is a Soho institution that has seem many fascinating glimpses of passing theatrical life. Much loved for the stories it could tell, as well as its authentic Italian coffee. The cakes are also heavenly, so ditch that diet and give into temptation!
22 Frith Street, Soho, W1
020 7437 4520
2. Espresso Room
Ben Townsend’s temple to coffee won Time Out’s much coveted ‘Best new cup of coffee 2011’ award – and rightly so. Espresso Room’s team of trained baristas rarely get things wrong. Whether you’re in the mood for a milky coffee, a macchiato, a strong espresso or something sweeter – like a toffee like Costa Rican brown sugar – you can satisfy your caffeine craving at one of the two L shaped benches at this tiny, yet charming coffee bar.
31-35 Great Ormond Street, WC1
Flocks of fans regularly return to Kaffeine and it’s not hard to see why. The shiny Synesso espresso machine – aka the Rolls Royce of espresso machines – serves up a superior range of rich espressos, but baristas also know how to make a fabulous flat white or full-fat latte. The food is fabulous too: feast on innovative salads and decadent brownies.
66 Great Titchfield Street, W1
020 7580 6755
4. Patisserie Valerie
Feted for its delicious but naughty cakes and top notch coffee, Patisserie Valerie also offers a tempting range of soups, salads, sandwiches and savouries. Service can be slow but it’s never hostile. This is a great place to visit for a cup of Joe and a chat with friends, before a spot of shopping in Kensington High Street or nearby Portobello.
27 Kensington Church Street, W8
020 7937 8574
5. St Ali
Famed Melbourne coffee shop, St Ali, opened its first London outpost earlier this year to critical acclaim. Situated at the corner of Clerkenwell Road and St John Street in Farringdon, St Ali is the kind of coffee shop and café that reminds the capital’s Antipodean contingent of home. It’s got style (expect plenty of exposed brickwork) and substance. All the usual coffee suspects feature but, while coffee is undoubtedly king, there’s also a decent wine list that’s worth exploring in the evening. On the food front, you can enjoy the likes of French toast with smoked bacon, organic maple syrup and caramelised walnuts for breakfast or roasted ocean trout – a generous plate of fish on a bed of quinoa, cranberries, redcurrants, fresh mint and pistachios for a not so light lunch.
27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1
020 7253 5754