Little old New Zealand regularly features on lists of coffee capitals. Places such as Wellington and Auckland sit comfortably among Australian, Italian and Scandinavian cities renowned for taking a little more care with their beans. While you can use travelling friends and family as mules to bring in packets of Squiggles, Tim Tams and Toffee Pops, they can’t bring coffee!
Prior to leaving NZ, I wasn’t a huge coffee drinker and often went through periods of not drinking it at all. Regardless, I have an inbuilt antipodean fussiness when it comes to coffee. Given London’s reputation for not having good bean juice, I didn’t even bother trying coffee here. But eventually, the life here took its toll and I found myself reaching for a coffee every now and again. I am fortunate enough to work next to a café that produces a quality flat white for the days when I struggle to keep it together. My visits to Fernandez & Wells at Somerset House are treats and only for when I’m truly struggling to stay focused. It is expensive however – the cost of my kiwi snobbery.
One morning on the tube I overheard two strangers discussing a cafe called Antipode. They were raving about it and that along with the name was enough to prompt an online investigation. I met a friend there one Saturday morning to be temporarily transported down under. From the antipodean staff to the excellent avocado loaded brunch, and of course very well made coffee – I was not disappointed! Antipode is a suitably unassuming cafe outside the busy Hammersmith station. I have already returned for round 2!
Most recently I tried a cafe close to my office called Fleet Street Press. It’s delicious and cheaper than Fernandez & Wells. It has top notch cafe vibes (not always achieved in London), and also have decadent salted caramel chocolate brownies that are as much a reason to visit as the coffee!
The espresso-centric cafe popped up over 10 years ago in London and has flourished under the dedicated efforts of Australian and New Zealand baristas. So don’t despair! If you have a look around, you can now find several establishments rocking excellent brunch menus and a quality coffee. There is yet hope for my brunch-starved weekends!