Kioskafé

A stylised speech bubble drawn as a human face.Kioskafé is the latest venture by Monocle, which London coffee-lovers may know through its café in Marylebone (plus another in Tokyo). Kioskafé differs from its parent in that it’s a hybrid, a cross between a newsgent (the Kiosk part) and a café (the -afé part). On Norfolk Place, it’s also significantly further west (on a central London scale; we’re not talking west, as in Ealing, or, heaven forbid, Bristol, although both are easily reached through nearby Paddington station).

That’s right, Kioskafé is just around the corner from Paddington (and across the road from St Mary’s Hospital), where it joins a small but growing band of speciality coffee shops led by Beany Green and KuPP. Serving Allpress’ Redchurch blend on espresso, Kioskafé also offers some seriously good cinnamon/cardamom buns from Fabrique Bakery, which are well worth trying. I am, by the way, indebted to Adam, a fellow Beany Green addict, for putting me onto these and for reminding me that Kioskafé had actually opened.

An excellent takeaway option if you happen to be passing by, if you’re planning on staying, there’s a choice of a pair of window bars or one of the four tables in the surprisingly comfortable outdoor seating area.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On an unremarkable corner of Norfolk Place, just off Praed Street, is this...
  • ... Monocle's aptly-named Kioskcafe.
  • There's not a great deal to it, but, as we know at the Coffee Spot, it's not size that matters.
  • The door is tucked away on the corner, behind these railings.
  • It looks very tempting inside.
  • However, before we go in, it's worth looking down the street to St Mary's Hospital...
  • ... where, in a room in this tower, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin (I never knew that).
  • Also, before going inside, check out the outdoor seating.
  • There are these two tables to the right...
  • ... and these two to the left. Between them, they make up over half of the seating.
  • The outdoor seats, as seen from inside. They are very comfortable, by the way.
  • Anyway, stepping insde, there are two parts to Kioskafe.
  • To the right is the magazine/newsagents part (the Kiosk, if you will)...
  • ... and to the left, the coffee part (the cafe).
  • The only internal seating is at the front, along the windows. Not easy to photograph though.
  • One of the two window-bars in a rare unoccupied moment.
  • Easier to photograph is the magazine/newsagent side, which is arranged around this table.
  • The walls are lined with magazine racks.
  • Meanwhile, just inside the door, are the newspapers.
  • The British papers are on the table...
  • ... while the international papers are on the rack next to the door.
  • Can't find the paper you're looking for? Never fear. Take a look at this list, pick a paper...
  • ... and voila! The Kioskafe has (London's only?) print-on-demand newspaper service.
  • That's all very well, but where are the pretty lights? Ah, I see them...
  • How useful. I like a helpful cafe/kiosk/newsagent/whatever.
  • Intruder alert! Intruder alert! Someone's been to Beany Green. Honestly, it wasn't me!!
  • The Kioskafe does sell its own drinks though...
  • ... and a limited (but excellent) range of cookies and cinnamon/cardamom buns.
  • Not only that, but the Kioskafe has added a range of (two) sandwiches.
  • Well, naturally I had to try one, so I went for the egg option (the other's chicken).
  • A look inside the box: the salad is a nice touch which you don't find very often.
  • Of course, we mustn't forget the coffee!
  • Allpress' Redchurch blend is in the main grinder. There are plans for the second grinder too.
  • The business end of (the coffee part of) Kioskafe.
  • Kioskafe only has takeaway cups, so on my first visit, I brought JOCO Cup for a flat white.
  • On my return I took my Keep Cup along. They sulk if I show favouritism.
  • The instagram shot shows off the latte art to good effect.
  • Anyone would think I put that there just for the photo-opportunity...
  • Finally, I'll leave you with the cardamom bun I had on my second visit. Simply superb.
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Once-upon-a-time, before the ubiquity of the internet, coffee and newspapers were natural bedfellows. I remember when my afternoon coffee break consisted of perusing a paper over my daily espresso. Nowadays, coffee shops with newspapers are rare (although I occasionally come across one). However, I can’t remember when I actually read a newspaper in a café (articles on my phone don’t count!). In this respect, Kioskafé’s a throwback, or, more accurately, a modern reinvention of an age-old pairing.

At first glance, Kioskafé looks like a little corner café, a row of four neat two-person tables nestling between dark railings and a pristine, cream front. On a corner of Norfolk Place, close to its junction with Praed Street, Kioskafé’s door, which seems to be permanently propped open, is on the right-hand end. Looking inside is your first clue that this might not be what it seems. Unless the angle’s just right, all you see is rack-upon-rack of glossy magazines, an impression reinforced by a glance in the windows. Rather than displaying cakes, bags of coffee, or the latest espresso machine, there are yet more magazines.

All becomes clear when you step inside. Kioskafé is L-shaped, the door in the corner. To your right, all three walls of Kioskafé are lined with magazines. However, this is no corner shop newsagents, thumbing through the titles to see what’s what. Here each magazine is individually displayed, like printed artworks lining the shelves. There are also two tables in the middle, equally well laid out.

The coffee’s to the left, along with the only interior seating, two window-bars, each with three low barstools. Opposite is the counter, where you can pay for your magazines as well as order your coffee. The espresso machine at the far end of the counter, has a pair of grinders, one for the Redchurch, the other yet to be decided. Kioskafé initially offered decaf, but lack of demand (two decafs ordered in the opening fortnight) is causing a rethink.

Kioskafé opened at the end of September. I gave it a week to settle in, then popped by the following week and the week after (last week) to say hello. Both times I had flat whites, first in JOCO Cups, then in my Keep Cup (Kioskafé only has takeaway cups). The coffee itself held no surprises: a typical Allpress flat white, slightly darker than the sweet flat whites I’ve become used to at Beany Green.

On my first visit, I sat outside on a mild, early October day. Although the road’s busy, it’s a pleasant spot. However, the smokers also congregate here, so should you find yourself sitting next to one, that might change! I also wonder what it‘ll be like as the days shorten, although there is a generous hoarding to keep the rain off.

First time around, I paired my flat white with an awesome cinnamon bun. This consisted of a rich bread dough, infused with cinnamon, topped with a sweet cinnamon-sugar glaze. On my return, I threw caution to the wind and had a cardamom bun, which was every bit the equal of its cinnamon cousin, if not better. It had the same base of rich pastry dough, this time topped with a cardamom glaze. Both buns were wonderful without being sickly sweet, although both are rather physically sticky.

October 2015: this might be the quickest Coffee Spot Update I’ve ever done, but when I popped in on Thursday, the day I published this Coffee Spot, I noticed that Kioskafé is now serving a choice of two sandwiches (chicken or egg) from Waso. These come in a neat box, comprising three small sandwiches with a side order of salad, which is a nice touch. Personally, I’d have preferred wholemeal bread, but with a range of two to choose from, you can’t have everything!

31 NORFOLK PLACE • LONDON • W2 1QH
http://kioskafe.com +44 (0) 20 3111 4242
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Allpress (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Window-bars, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Cookies, Cinnamon/Cardomom Buns, Sandwiches
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 19:00 Wifi No
Sunday 07:00 – 19:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 8th, 16th October 2015

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