Jika Jika started life in Bath about five years ago. It’s recently moved premises there, downsizing to a smaller outlet by the station. About a year ago it also opened a second branch. In London. As you do.
Close enough to Euston station to be worth visiting if you’re en route to catch a train, it’s just around the corner from the northern exit of Euston Square tube station (turn right, away from Euston itself, and ignore the branch of Costa). It’s somewhere I kept going past, thinking, “Is that the same Jika Jika as in Bath?” and “I must go in there one day”. So, eventually, I did. Twice.
There’s not a lot to Jika Jika, which occupies a corner of the Euston Square hotel (which, ironically, also houses the aforementioned Costa). However, it packs a lot in, including decent breakfast and lunch offerings. There’s a solid espresso menu, based around a bespoke espresso blend (plus decaf) from Cornwall’s Origin, using a two-group La Marzocco which dominates the counter at the back of the small space. If you have time to linger, the décor is interesting, including plenty of pictures and amusing coffee-related quotations.
January 2017: Jika Jika is now closed. As far as I know, the branch in Bath has also closed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Jika Jika’s one of those places which acts like it’s much bigger than it is. Physically, it’s really quite small, but it thinks it’s a much larger coffee shop and then it delivers on that promise. From the outside it feels even smaller, just a narrow shop front, with enough space for a door and a four-person table on the pavement outside. This sits under a window on the left which looks like it was once a serving hatch.
It’s actually bigger than it looks. But still quite small. The counter fills the back, with some tables to the left and, on the right, two high, narrow tables with bar stools. A couple of similar stools sit at a little window-bar to the left of the door. In all, if you all knew each other really well, it could seat 22.
Despite this, it’s not that cramped inside, with a clear path from door to counter and plenty of space in front of the counter to mill around in when ordering/waiting for your coffee (if you’re not staying). There was a lot of takeout trade during both my visits (mid-morning in both cases), plus a surprisingly large number of people sitting in. The only real downside is that when it gets busy, Jika Jika can get really noisy, especially when the padding on the knock-box is broken…
The staff, by the way, are very friendly and helpful, and, while there’s no Wifi, I had no problem picking up the free Wifi from Euston Square station. There are also no toilets, but the hotel’s happy for you to use its facilities (it’s a bit of a walk though).
Jika Jika describes itself as “Coffee and Canteen” and lives up to the billing. Although I was there between meals, for somewhere so small, both breakfast and lunch menus are impressive and looked very tempting, consisting mostly of bagels, burritos and other bread-based items (so less good for those who are gluten-free).
Jika Jika has a bespoke espresso blend from Origin. Although this is less of a selling point than it used to be, with the likes of Artigiano Espresso and Selfridges serving Cornwall’s finest, not to mention Origin itself setting up shop in Shoreditch, it’s still a refreshing change from the usual suspects. On my first visit, I had a perfectly acceptable flat white, which was very well-made. On my return, I tried the espresso (which was offered as a single or double; naturally I went for the double). This was surprisingly fruity, but, given my struggles in the past with fruity espressos, really lovely, very much back-of-the-mouth and with none of the sharpness that I dislike. A definite highlight!
|152 NORTH GOWER STREET • LONDON • NW1 2LU|
|http://jikajika.co.uk/||+44 (0) 20 7388 7863|
|Monday||06:30 – 19:00||Roaster||Origin (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||06:30 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||06:30 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||06:30 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||06:30 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 14:00||Wifi||Free (see notes)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 14:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Yes||Visits||15th, 26th October 2015|
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