What’s there not to like about Foxcroft & Ginger? I was introduced to it by a friend on Twitter and, although it took me a little while, it’s now become a firm favourite. The storefront, on Berwick Street in Soho, is, I confess, one I could easily walk past (and it’s not often that my café radar lets me down) and I find the upstairs a little chaotic. However, downstairs in the basement is the real deal.
Regular readers might not know about my fondness for basements, largely because there aren’t that many cafés with decent basements. It can best be described as “unfinished”, with bare walls and exposed power conduits and air conditioning ducts. It’s “L” shaped with a collection of oddly-shaped tables around the walls. In fact, nothing much matches in Foxcroft & Ginger, which is one of its many charms.
The coffee, as one might expect, is very good, with espresso-based drinks supplemented by V60, cafetiere and Aeropress options and with beans from Has Bean and Caravan. However, best of all are the cakes, and, specifically, the muffins, which might be the best in the whole wide world, all freshly baked on site.
September 2016: I’ve heard on the grapevine that Foxcroft & Ginger’s Soho branch has closed, although there’s no official word as to why… Very sad news.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Foxcroft & Ginger has a narrow storefront on Berwick Street, but is much bigger than it looks. Although there are tables upstairs, it’s quite cramped and suffers from the constant stream of people coming and going and queuing up at the counter (which is at the back). The real treat, however, is downstairs in the basement where there’s space for about 30 people at variously-sized wooden tables.
I’ve been there three times, always in the basement. Although it’s constantly busy, I’ve always got a seat. It can get loud, especially with the background music, but at no point was it too loud. When I was there with a friend (Hayley, the aforementioned tweeter) the background noise never made conversation difficult (my usual test). The music, by the way, is excellent (ie it matched my taste!): very 80s, with The Clash, The Smiths, The Jam and The Specials to name a few.
Foxcroft & Ginger serves Has Bean coffee, which regular readers will know is a little fruitier than I like my espresso. That said, the espresso was one of the least-fruity Has Beans I’ve had and the blend Foxcroft & Ginger uses goes very well with milk to make a great flat white. I also tried a single origin through a V60 Filter, plumping for the Finca La Fany. There were three options, all from Caravan, with the Finca described by the barista as “most coffee-like” (interesting description…). It was excellent: no subtle hints or fruity flavours, just straight down the line coffee, smooth and strong (you know you’re onto a winner when it *doesn’t* look like tea).
If coffee’s not your thing, there’s also hot chocolate, a range of tea and wine by the glass/bottle. The drinks (except the wine) come in a variety of mismatched items of crockery. You have to admire the level of dedication this takes, although I did notice a couple of people with white cups on white saucers (!) and was told by the staff that the mismatched crockery is running out…
As well as being a coffee spot, Foxcroft & Ginger describes itself (quite accurately) as a laid-back, all-day dining spot. I didn’t try the food during my original visits, but since then I’ve become an irregular visitor and have made my way through much of the pizza menu. You can see what I made of it during my visit in January 2015.
However, I’ve saved the best until last. The cake!
Downstairs, in the basement, is a door to the kitchen, where the food is made and the bread baked. Most important of all, this is where the cakes come from. On my first visit, not knowing any better, I had an orange and almond cube cake, a weird combination, but surprisingly nice. However, on my second visit, having been alerted by another blogger, Jammatology, I went for a blueberry and custard muffin. I was so impressed that I came back for a third visit when I was promised that there would be rhubarb and custard muffins. And there were.
These are quite possibly the best muffins ever. They have real chunks of fruit in them, a liquid custard centre and, best of all, are served warm. It’s like a whole pudding in a cake! If nothing else, you have to try one. Or two. Or maybe three…
See what I made of Foxcroft & Ginger on my return visit in January 2015.
|3 BERWICK STREET • SOHO • LONDON • W1F 0DR|
|www.foxcroftandginger.com||+44 (0) 20 7287 5890|
|Monday||08:00 –19:00||Roaster||Has Bean + Guests (now The Roasting Party)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 22:00||Seating||Tables, small bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 22:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 22:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 22:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 22:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 19:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 2nd February, 21st, 28th March 2013
Update: 22nd January 2015
If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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Went here last night and were told we cannot go downstairs for a coffee because after 7pm, it is only for those having dinner. We had a look downstairs and it was empty. What a waste of space? The cakes we also on the stale side.
They seem to have been doing that a while. I guess that they’re trying to encourage people to come out to them for dinner. Was the upstairs really crowded then?
Re the cakes: usually when I get there that time there aren’t any cakes left!
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