White Mulberries is one of those hidden gems of the London Coffee Scene that you really need to know about if you’re going to find it. Tucked away in the lovely St Katherine Docks, opposite the lock with the Thames, it’s not the sort of place you’d casually walk past. However, once you’ve found it, chances are you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, even though the area is awash with cafes (I walked past five on my way to White Mulberries).
Run by husband and wife team Peyman and Rana, I was immediately struck by the friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It helps that the coffee, from London roasters, Allpress and Nude Espresso, is very good, while the cakes are excellent, but what makes White Mulberries stand out from the crowd is the warm welcome you get. It’s not a huge space and there’s not that much in the way of seating, but it’s the sort of place that makes you want to come back time after time.
April 2014: White Mulberries won “London’s Best Coffee Shop” in the inaugural London Coffee Stops Awards!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
White Mulberries is one of those places that I heard about ages ago, but which I’ve taken my time to visit, not for any negative reasons, but because this part of London (St Katherine Docks, just east of Tower Bridge) isn’t somewhere I normally go. In fact, it’s been 15 years ago since my last visit!
St Katherine Docks has come a long way since then, turning itself into a lovely spot, full of cafes and (chain) restaurants on the walkways surrounding the docks, which in turn are full of very expensive yachts. And the Queen’s Barge, Gloriana. It’s a very pleasant spot to stroll around and it’s equally pleasant to sit outside a café, away from the traffic and noise of London. It’s worth persevering and heading into the interior where you’ll find White Mulberries.
White Mulberries isn’t particularly big, and Peyman and Rana have gone for a minimalist approach. I’ve seen similar-sized places pack a lot in, but here the counter, to your right as you come in, takes up the bulk of the space, with a small bar between counter and window and a bench opposite the counter, with a couple of small tables at the far end. There’s more seating outside, with four small tables overlooking the dock, the ideal place if you like sitting outside. The only issue is if someone on the next table decides to light up. Unless, of course, you are a smoker, in which case it really is the ideal place!
The counter is fairly uncluttered, although it’s laden with cake at the window end, just to tempt those sitting at the window bar. Beyond that is a decent selection of sandwiches, followed by the espresso machine. The interior is very pleasant, with whitewashed walls (bare brick behind the counter) and bare wooden floorboards.
I don’t know what it is about some people that makes you feel immediately welcome, but both Peyman and Rana have it in abundance, making White Mulberries very special. I had a long discussion with Peyman about how to make my espresso: Allpress or Nude Espresso (Allpress)? Single or double (double)? Ristretto or espresso (ristretto)?
The resulting coffee was very fine. It was surprisingly sweet, but nothing to cause me any alarms. Since it was so short, it had a lovely mouth feel to it; sometimes a long espresso shot can be too watery, but this was nice and thick, coating the inside of my mouth. I went back for seconds and ended up in another long discussion, this time about beans, roasts and extraction times! I went with the Nude, a slightly lighter, sweeter roast than the Allpress, which I had as a piccolo. This was a good combination of milk and coffee, resulting in a sweet drink, with the taste of the coffee coming nicely through the milk.
I should point out that we only had this discussion because I asked; neither Peyman or Rana are going to force you to talk coffee if you don’t want to!
I finished things off with a slice of red velvet cake. I’m always slightly wary of red velvet cake since it can be too sickly, but when done right, as it was in White Mulberries, it’s lovely. The moist cake was perfectly offset by the sweet buttercream filling.
October 2014: You can find out what happened when I visited White Mulberries as part of the Coffee Spot’s 2nd birthday celebrations!
|D3 IVORY HOUSE • ST KATHERINE DOCKS • LONDON • E1W 1AT|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:00||Roaster||Allpress + Nude Espresso (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:00||Seating||Benches, Window-Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (public wi-fi)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||18th October 2013|
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