Though it may not have the street cred of East London or the highbrow intelligentsia of North London, West London has built up a niche for itself as a home of culture and fine dining. Nowhere is this better exemplified than its cafes, which now rival the independent coffee shops in the East. Here are 10 places you shouldn’t miss out on.
Describing the eclectic clientele of Australian-owned Barossa is something of a challenge. Young and old, families and singles, there’s something for just about everybody, especially anyone with a taste for good beans. Taken from the Caravan Roastery, those beans are ground into delicious coffee, served by the most expert of staff. Customers can enjoy their beverages in the small front room, or retreat to the larger one at the back to join the lunch crowd. Food is as big a part of Barossa as its coffee, with an array of brunch dishes and more exotic, international fare that is sure to complement the cafe’s many fine qualities. Fundamentally, for great food and drink in a laid-back setting, there aren’t many better establishments in the area.
Barossa Fulham, 277 New King’s Rd, London, SW6 4RD, +4420 7751 9711
Pub, British, $$$
Anyone wandering into The Elgin might be forgiven for thinking the venue had accidentally made its way onto this list. It looks like a pub, and used to be one. Though it’s largely moved on from its boozy past, alcohol still plays a part at The Elgin, alongside a menu that brings a perfectionist and international feel to pub grub classics. Still, this list is about coffee and that’s why The Elgin earns its place. Beans come from Coleman coffee, and the detail-orientated and knowledgeable baristas work hard to create the perfect beverage (including rare single-estate espresso coffees).
The Elgin, 96 Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PY, +4420 7229 5663
Lowry & Baker
Portobello road was clamouring for independent coffee shops when Lowry & Baker opened four years ago, and since then it’s built a solid place in the local community where anyone can come to enjoy the mismatched crockery, personable staff and well-brewed coffee. The food options are a little sparse but what’s on offer is well worth the price. Customers won’t go wrong with the blueberry cheesecake and banana bread, or the wide range of soups, salads and sandwiches. The inside feels homely and warm, and the laid-back atmosphere means that locals and visitors alike can be glad that Lowry & Baker came along to meet a need they didn’t even know they had.
Lowry & Baker, 339 Portobello Rd, London, W10 5SA, +4420 8960 8534
Yvon’s Artisan Patisserie
Yvon’s Artisan Patisserie
The espresso at Yvon’s isn’t as striking as other places, but the excellent food is definitely worth a visit. Parisian cuisine par excellence, chef Yvon Coignard’s chocolate and fruit patisserie will transport Ealing customers to the winding streets of France’s capital. There are now savoury options too, with recently-introduced sandwiches and other treats. Workers can enjoy freshly-made croissants, Danish and breads for breakfast en route to the office, or can hold out until lunchtime when they can enjoy a great range of store-made sandwiches and baguettes.
Yvon’s Artisan Patisserie, 9 Oak Road, Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, London, W5 3SS, +4420 8840 3768
Cafe, Vegetarian, $$$
You can’t get much more family-friendly than this cafe, with babyccinos, a dedicated toy area, a great kids’ menu and activities like toddler yoga, but there’s plenty for the adults too. The glass-obscured kitchen offers an interesting variety of dishes like fiery jerk chicken with rice and peas, and Caravan coffee sits well alongside Camden Town Brewery bottled ale. Gracelands has also built up something of a reputation for its large range of salads and quiches. Fundamentally, though, it’s Gracelands’ sense of community that makes it stand out – customers would do well to keep their eyes peeled for its supper clubs.
Gracelands, 118 College Rd, London, NW10 5HD, +4420 8964 9161
This local venue in Shepherd’s Bush started out as a simple coffee shop with a few cakes on offer, but as time has gone by it has expanded, adding a dinner menu and more room next door. Despite this expansion the Hummingbird can still get a little snug (especially for brunch on weekends), but the well-put together and delicious brunch menus make it worthwhile. The breakfast omelettes are a particular speciality with a variety of choices on offer, though a traditional full English and more continental options are also available. And even if you’re forced to enjoy it outside under the awning, the Ozone coffee can’t be beat.
Hummingbird Cafe, 1C Oaklands Grove, London, W12 0JD, +4420 8746 2333
There is an authenticity to this Italian-inspired coffee shop which largely comes from its owner. Rino Eramo has worked in the coffee industry his whole life, once owning a cafe in Rome, and in La Caffetteria he has brought a taste of southern Italy to Kensington. Outside of the laudable Illy coffee and other drinks like freshly-squeezed blood orange juice, the cafe offers dishes such as home-made biscotti, parmegiana and meat loaf, which can be either eaten in or taken away. Those seeking La Caffetteria would be advised to keep their eyes peeled, however, as its a small establishment and easy to walk right past.
La Caffetteria, 40 Kensington Church St, London, W8 4BX, +4420 7937 7500
A long-standing figure in the West London coffee scene located in the heart of Portobello Road market, this old hand hasn’t dimmed with age and can hold its own against the trendiest new cafes. Coffee is roasted in a nearby factory before being rushed to the shop twice a week, and with a huge selection of organic and Fairtrade coffee to buy, the venue appeals to a conscientious crowd. With a fascinating history rooted in London’s alternative publishing scene, any interested parties will have plenty to chat to the staff about.
Coffee Plant, 180 Portobello Rd, London, W11 2EB, +4420 7221 8137
With a Bring Your Own Bottle option and a strong local flavour, regular visitors swear by the quality of Poppy’s Place. The Workshop coffee is strong and the dinners are cheap, ranging from dishes like hash brown & hot smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraiche and a full English breakfast in the mornings to sticky ginger and rosemary chicken wings and crispy ham croquettes, tarragon & caper mayo for evening meals. Parents need not worry either; there’s a great kids’ menu to complement the fine food choices elsewhere, and anyone who wants something a little lighter to go with their meal will find a wide variety of fresh pastries to their liking.
Poppy’s Place, 255 Munster Rd, London, SW6 6BW, 020 7920 6420
Lola & Simón
As customers enter this cosy coffee shop, they’ll find themselves welcomed into the split-level dining room by cheerful staff and immediately consulted on their choice of beverage. They may choose Monmouth coffee; they may choose tea from Teapigs; and they’ll have the option of a gorgeous spread of home-made cakes and pastries spread over the counter. For a heavier breakfast, patrons can enjoy dishes like poached eggs and smoked salmon on buttered sourdough (with some variety in other topping choices), with all meats brought in from a nearby Chiswick institution. There has been some upheaval at Lola & Simón this year thanks to a change in management, but its commitment to great food and coffee remains as strong as ever.
Lola & Simón, 278 King St, Greater London, W6 0SP, +4420 8563 0300