Is this London’s best neighbourhood for coffee?
Shoreditch is a neighbourhood just on the immediate eastern edge of the City of London. It was one of the first areas where the power of inner-city gentrification was demonstrated in London’s current regeneration cycle.
This is where you’ll find some seriously expensive apartments – the most sought-after are converted warehouse spaces. Shoreditch is also where you’ll find the bulk of London’s tech community, plus an eclectic mix of independent boutiques, as well as a wealth of restaurants and cafes.
They take their coffee seriously in Shoreditch. Here’s a quick guide to some of the options available to you if you’re looking for where to get your caffeine fix.
For what used to be quite an edgy area, Albion would feel quite at home in any white, middle-class suburb in Sydney, New York, or Cape Town. A big bright open space, large bustling kitchen and a produce store selling pastries, breads and over-priced groceries. Nevertheless, this is a great breakfast or brunch option.
Good coffee, free wifi, and plenty of power sockets for the laptop user. That’s a good cafe.
Forge & Co holds a prominent place on London’s Shoreditch High Street. A large, modern, stylish open space with an impressive bar and a combination of tables and couches. This is the kind of place that offers something for whatever time of day you’re passing - from breakfast, through lunch, dinner, and into late night cocktails. There’s even a long work-table which always seems to be filled with the local freelancing office-less community. Friendly, professional service, good coffee, excellent wifi, and top-drawer food.
Having begun life in Fitzrovia, Antipodean cafe Lantana is slowly spreading like the noxious weed after which it is named. The Shoreditch branch is within spitting distance of the Old Street roundabout. You really can’t ask for much more from a cafe than this. Friendly service, good food done well, and great coffee.
Leila’s Shop is perhaps the perfect cafe to have in your neighbourhood. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Shoreditch, this small cafe offers simple food and great coffee. It doesn’t get much better than ham and eggs for breakfast, but their lunch menu always features the best seasonal produce. Next-door to the cafe, they’re also running a small deli and grocery store. Super-busy on weekends, but worth making the effort for.
If you’re a cycle geek, remotely into cycling, or fancy meeting someone who’s into cycling, then Look Mum No Hands is for you. Not only is it a great cafe serving really good coffee and a nice range of food options, it’s also a shrine to everything in the world of cycling, plus it has it’s own in-house bicycle workshop. Genius. Pull on your lycra and get down there.
Up there among the best places for coffee in Shoreditch is Ozone Coffee Roasters. A New Zealand coffee outfit that, like a number of successful Antipodean operators, has decided to expand to London. Of course, the coffee is excellent, the food options are everything you could hope for, and the service is relaxed, friendly and efficient. Bonus – they have free wifi which is really solid.
This is a cool cafe. The coffee is good, the croissants are fresh, and the service is exactly right. Paper & Cup is a project from the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, so it’s a not-for-profit enterprise from a local charity. You can feel righteous while you sip your latte.
I really like this place. The breakfast and the coffee is good, the layout is cool, the staff are even cooler, and the music is amazing. In the evenings, they pack up all the tables and it turns into a bar. Service can be a bit hit and miss, but everything is relaxed.
For a classic, American-style breakfast you can’t beat The Diner - delivering unlimited filter coffee to wash down your massive fry-up. The Diner is a chain with locations across London. The Shoreditch branch is looking a bit tired around the edges, but the service is friendly and professional, and the food is good.