Flat White and a sandwich at Fernandez & Wells
Running a number of eateries across Soho Fernandez & Wells pride themselves in their commitment to high quality, fresh food. Most importantly they run a small cafe on Beak Street that is the perfect spot for lunch and a flat white. It’s a nice retreat from the bustle of Carnaby Street just around the corner and the staff are welcoming to all that enter.
I enjoyed a well crafted flat white and a rare beef and horseradish sandwich that hit the spot just when I needed it. Their selection of freshly baked sweets are worth sampling if you’re in the area and want to pick up a treat on your way past. The same goes for getting a flat white to go as well.
Note: Be sure to ask for a flat white even if you don’t see it on the menu. If there’s one thing I realised recently it’s that any respectable establishment that serves coffee will serve a flat white if asked. For some reason they don’t all make a noise of this fact, so don’t be afraid to just ask in your quest for a great coffee.
Enjoying a well made flat white white at Gail’s in Queens Park. Good to see consistency across the board.
Coming up at the end of September is UK Coffee Week. As well as promoting the UK coffee industry, it seeks to raise money for Project Waterfall, which delivers safe drinking water and sanitisation projects in coffee producing countries. A number of my favourite coffee shops, including Flat White and Sacred, are participating and will be raising funds by adding a 5p voluntary levy to purchases in store. So get out there and grab yourself a great coffee (make that a flat white) and feel good for donating to a great cause at the same time.
Mmm Flat White
A wander down Northcote Road in SW11 will lead to many a culinary discovery from simple takeout to bistro pubs. Added to that, there’s a healthy selection of independant shops and boutiques that appear to be thriving. It makes for a good weekend morning of shopping and eating. Of the latter, I paid a visit to Gail’s Artisan Bakery
who have recently opened a branch in Northcote road. They have a seemingly endless selection of breads and cakes and also offer a variety of food to eat in and take away. I opted for a brownie and carrot cake and to my surprise found that they also offered flat whites as part of their coffee lineup. Never one to turn down a good flattie, I got one to takeaway with the sweets and went up to Wandsworth Common to sit out in the sun and enjoy both.
I recommend checking out Gail’s as they have some excellent food and coffee. They also have branches in Hampstead, Notting Hill and St John’s Wood.
Exchange Coffee stall with Flat Whites!
Last weekend saw a small collection of chocolatiers and artisans assemble behind the Royal Festival Hall for The London Chocolate Festival
. I decided to head up because after coffee I have a soft spot for dark chocolate. As was to be expected there was chocolate in abundance and nestled amongst all that chocolate was the Exchange Coffee stall
, a welcome find.
Exchange Coffee is usually based at the end of Lewisham High Street next to the Clock Tower. However, they also appear at chocolate and chilli festivals spreading good coffee. I had the pleasure of taking a couple of photos behind the scenes and of the stall in exchange for a free Flat White. I’ve put these up on Flickr and am including a couple of shots on this post so click the links for the bigger picture and to see the creation of a tulip on a Flat White. I hope to visit Exchange Coffee at their usual home some time soon.
More photos of Flat Whites and coffee here.
It has occurred to me that my last update could look like the beginning of my subjugation by Starbucks and that they’ve conquered me with their introduction of Flat Whites. I can assure you all that this is not the case and I’ve been frequenting Milk Bar and a coffee cart in Clapham Common that both produce excellent coffee.
I’ll be back with an update later today about The Exchange Coffee Stall I encountered at The London Chocolate Festival on the South Bank.
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions that have been left. I like nothing more than discovering somewhere new and trying awesome coffee.
I remember being in Milk Bar last year when a coffee critic was sitting at the table next to me with the barista talking about the joys of the Flat White. I’m drawn back to this memory in particular because I can hear the critic berating Starbucks and the other big coffee chains for serving up coffee drowned out with too much milk. At the time (as you can see by my last post) I thought that chains like this would never embrace the Flat White over here because it was almost unheard of.
Yesterday, I walked into my local Starbucks on my way to work and lo and behold: they are “Introducing” the Flat White. Of course, I ordered this right away to go and they told me that it wasn’t meant to be taken away… I just nodded sagely. I’ve had take away Flat Whites for the longest time, why do Starbucks think they know better? Needless to say, it was better than I had expected. This does come down to who makes the drink in the end, but the person making mine took extra time to fold in the milk and was careful not to over froth the top and turn it in to a latte. I’m impressed that Starbucks look to be changing their ways and offering more choice over all the Venti Mocha Locha Lattes that they have prided themselves in for so long.
Here’s to the future of the Flat White…
I came across this article in the Independent about good coffee, particularly flat whites, leading the way in Britain. I’m not sure I can see Starbucks and Costa offering flatties any time soon, or disappearing either.
Time to wake up and smell the flat white
I’ve updated the FlatWhiteAbet page with some more locations, mostly all of the Sacred locations that I’ve now discovered. One is even near enough to work to be a viable stop for a flat white each day.
Thanks for all the comments suggesting places to try out. I’ll do my best to get around to them all soon.
Ray's Jazz Cafe on a Saturday
Given the obvious disappointment of not getting to drink a Flat White in Greenwich, I made sure I went to find somewhere else that I had heard made them. Ray’s Jazz Cafe
is on the first floor of Foyles on Charing Cross Road and serve flat whites along with a good selection of food and other treats. There was a bit of confusion ordering and the barista didn’t seem to understand what I mean when I ordered two flat whites, but this was cleared up when I pointed to “flat white” on the menu. Not sure what that was all about, but needless to say I did end up with two flat whites. Ray’s has a good atmosphere and I can imagine that with some jazz playing it would be a great place to enjoy a coffee.
Yesterday, I headed up to Greenwich to find the original coffee shop that gave me the inspiration for this blog. I remembered it being behind the Clock Tower market and I wondered around for some time before giving up. It was only on the way back to the station that I passed a boarded up entrance and peered through the gaps, that I could see the little garages where the place used to be. It’s a shame as it was a cool, independent operation with Antipodean treats to go with their Flat Whites. Hopefully they’ve moved somewhere else and I will find it again some day.