Climpson and Sons Café

The front of the Climpson and Sons Café, with the recessed door offset to the right and with wooden benches on the pavement in front of the windows.Located between Cambridge Heath and London Fields stations on the suburban line out of Liverpool Street, and just a stone’s through from the Climpson and Sons roastery (at Climpson’s Arch), the Climpson and Sons Café on Broadway Market is a lovely little spot. The most sensible approach is from London Fields Station, from where you can head directly across the open, green space that is London Fields, heading south until you hit Broadway Market, a delightful street of local shops, cafes and restaurants, several of which spill out onto the pavements. Trust me, this is a much more picturesque approach than wandering the streets from Cambridge Heath…

Coming from London Fields, you’ll find Climpson and Sons a few doors down on the right. It’s not a huge spot, roughly square in layout, with the counter taking up the back third of the store, the front two-thirds given over to seating. Unsurprisingly serving Climpson and Sons beans on espresso and filter, there’s also a comprehensive range of beans for sale. A decent cake selection is joined by breakfast and lunch menus until three o’clock. Impressively, given how busy it is, Climpson and Sons still manages to serve food at the weekends.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Climpson and Sons Café at the London Fields end of Broadway Market.
  • A panoramic view of the counter from just inside the door...
  • ... and looking the other way.
  • The seating is split into two. There's this, in the window, left of the door as you come in.
  • Climpson and Sons through the looking glass...
  • A rare unoccupied pair of stools in the window.
  • An even rarer thing: all four stools along the bar by the stairs are momentarily vacated.
  • Climpson and Sons through the looking glass, Part II. I really liked the mirror above the stairs.
  • Talking of whiich, what's down there...? Oh no... :-(
  • The rest of the seating is along the right-hand wall, between window and counter.
  • It consists of two bays of wooden benches, one in the window, the other by the counter.
  • It was such a sunny day that the lights above the counter weren't on.
  • However, the spots in the ceiling behind the counter were...
  • ... despite the daylight from tihs little window at the back.
  • The menu promises much: breakfast, lunch from 11am to 3pm. And, of course, coffee.
  • However, I'd arrived a bit late in the day. This is where the cake would have been...
  • ... although the soft drinks are still on their little shelf just under the counter.
  • What was left of the food looked lovely...
  • ... including these two beauties.
  • Now, remind me... Who roasts the coffee?
  • The right-hand third of the counter houses the filter station, with the kitchen behind it.
  • Pour-over is on the left, bulk-brew on the right.
  • I did like the pour-over stands, each with its own set of scales.
  • Bulk-brew, meanwhile, is provided by the Moccamaster.
  • However, I'd come for something from the espresso machine.
  • A better view of the grinders; one for the house espresso, the EK-43 for everything else.
  • I did like the cups. There's a good variety of classic china and glasses.
  • Unfortunately at the weekend, Climpson and Sons is so busy that it's takeaway cups only...
  • ... unless, of course, you bring your own. Here Keep Cup is pressed into use.
  • A lovely, mottled crema on my espresso.
  • Keep Cup normally holds flat whites, so was quite impressed by the novelty of a piccolo.
  • I was pleased that the barista resisted the temptation to overfill the cup!
Photo Carousel by v4.6

The café has a slightly asymmetrical layout, with recessed double doors slightly offset to the right. This leaves space for a four-person window-bar to the left, while to the right, a wooden bench-seat forms part of a larger arrangement of benches along the right-hand wall. These are formed into two small bays, each with a small, low, square coffee table. The only other seating is a four-person bar along the top of the stairs on the left-hand side of the store. Sadly, these only lead down to an office…

This leaves the middle free for the many customers waiting to order/collect from the counter at the back. This is similarly asymmetrical, split by a pillar opposite the door. You order to the left of the pillar, where you’ll also find the cake, beyond which is the espresso machine. The two grinders (house espresso plus an EK-43 for everything else) are behind the espresso machine along the left-hand wall. To the pillar’s right is the filter-station: a couple of pour-over filters and a Moccamaster small-batch brewer (it seems a little unfair to call it bulk-brew given the small amounts it makes).

The décor is as simple as the layout: whitewashed walls and ceilings, with wooden floorboards complimenting the wooden furniture. The counter is also wooden and, apart from the counter-top itself, is painted pale grey. Three-quarter length windows along the store’s full width mean it’s very bright, the large mirror above the stairs adding to the sense of space. Three lights hang from the ceiling, supplemented by multiple spots behind the counter for when it’s dark outside. There’s also a small window right at the back in the corner behind the grinders. The only discordant note comes from the eight orange stools at the two bars.

At weekends, the café is ridiculously busy. When I was there, there were rarely fewer than five people waiting to order or collect, with the queue frequently reaching the door. Because of this, it’s paper cups only at the weekends, with the coffee menu similarly simplified to just the house-blend espresso and a single-origin on the Moccamaster. During the week, however, a single-origin joins the house-blend on espresso and, if you ask nicely, the baristas will dial-in any of the other single-origins for you. You can also try any of the single-origins as a pour-over and buy any of the beans to take home with you.

I was offered a sample of a Colombian single-origin from the Moccamaster. This was very a smooth, full-bodied coffee and, had I not wanted to try the espresso, I’d have probably upgraded to a full cup. Instead I had the seasonal espresso, which had just changed over to the new spring blend.

As a straight espresso, I found it a little sour for my tastes, the sort of bright, acidic espresso that makes me pull funny faces. This surprised me, since I’ve always liked the Climpson and Sons espressos that I’ve had before (although I’ve tended to have the Climpson Estate blend). I gave it another go as a piccolo, where the sharpness of the espresso was still apparent, but with the edge taken off by the milk. I found this much more palatable, although I think I’d have probably enjoyed it even more as a flat white!

Monday 07:30 – 17:00 Roaster In house (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 17:00 Seating Benches, window bar, benches (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 17:00 Food Breakfast & Lunch (until 3 pm), Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:30 – 17:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:30 – 17:00 Wifi No
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 22nd March 2015

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