Kin

A large chalk drawing of an octopus saying "Yo Kin" in a speech bubble, above the handwritten details of Kin's filter of the weekI’m always on the lookout for something slightly out of the ordinary, so I thought it was about time that I paid a visit to Kin, in Fitzrovia. In a city dominated by big-name local roasters such as Allpress, Caravan, Square Mile and Workshop, plus a host of other, smaller roasters, it’s always nice to find something from out of town. In this case it’s Bristol’s Clifton Coffee Roasters, with Kin using Clifton’s seasonal EQ espresso blend, plus a single-origin filter of the week on batch-brew, using the ever-reliable Moccamaster.

Kin, which will be two years old at the end of May, is in good company in this part of Fitzrovia. It’s on Foley Street, just along from Attendant and around the corner from the original Kaffeine. Long and thin, it’s an impressively bright spot, helped by generous windows at the front and a large skylight at the back. The focus at Kin is as much on the food as it is on the coffee (and loose-leaf tea from London’s Postcard Teas). There’s breakfast (served until 11.30) and lunch (12.00 to 15.30), plus copious quantities of cake to fill that awkward half-hour gap (cake is also available at other times).

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Kin, on Foley Street in Fitzrovia, approaching from the direction of Eastcastle Street.
  • The front-on view. Check out the outside seating under the awning.
  • The awning helps to keep off the sun (sometimes!) & the rain... I had both during my visit!
  • There are more tables outside on the other side of the pavement, under a tree.
  • You have to admire the artistry of the A-board. This side shows the filter of the week...
  • ... while the sunny side gets the lunch options.
  • Inside, Kin is long and thin...
  • ... with the beautifully-tiled counter down the left-hand side.
  • There are a couple of small tables in the window...
  • ... and some more, even smaller tables, along the right-hand wall, opposite the counter.
  • The bulk of the seating is at the back, with two rows of these square tables.
  • These may be the best seats, particularly the padded bench. There's a skylight directly above.
  • The view from the back. For what could have been a dark spot, Kin is remarkably bright.
  • Naturally I was drawn to the angle-poise lamps on the wall.
  • There's one for each of the little, projecting tables.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • When I said last one, I meant of those lights... These beauties hang over the counter.
  • Okay. This is the last lighting shot, honest.
  • This plant sits in a niche at the back...
  • ... while this painting adorns the back wall, not far from the plant.
  • A vertical radiator, in case you were wondering.
  • The counter is a two-part affair, food on the left, coffee on the right, menus on the wall.
  • Kin is as much about food as it is about coffee. The menus are behind the counter.
  • There's an extensive breakfast menu (until 11.30)...
  • ... and lunch (from 12.00 to 3.30; I arrived at four!). Plus there are fresh juices...
  • ... and an impressive selection of cakes.
  • This blank space is where the lunch would have been had I not arrived at four o'clock...
  • There's also a separate coffee & tea menu.
  • Coffee! Currently from Clifton Coffee Roasters in Bristol.
  • Tea! From London's Postcard Teas.
  • The espresso machine is front and centre. The EK-43 grnider is for decaf and filter...
  • ... while Clifton's seasonal EQ blend is in the main espresso grinder.
  • The filter coffee is tucked away around the corner...
  • ... with this little Moccamaster making small batches at a time.
  • I decided I wanted a treat, and this pear and apple cake caught my eye...
  • ... although technically it's an upside pear and apple cake.
  • I paired this with a flat white, in a glass.
  • The instagram view does the latte art more justice :-)
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Kin occupies a cheery shop front on the north side of Foley Street, joining a mix of restaurants, pubs and other cafés that line the street. It’s also within spitting distance of the ironwork which denotes the entrance to Attendant, the famed coffee shop in a disused gentlemen’s toilet that is buried somewhere beneath the street.

There’s some outside seating in the shape of a couple of tables on the far side of the pavement, clustered around a tree. It is tempting to think that in occupying one of these tables you are sitting directly above some unsuspecting customer down below in Attendant, but I fear that this is not actually the case. Meanwhile, further seating can be found in front of the café itself. This shelters under the awning, which, during my visit, alternated between providing shade from the afternoon sun and keeping off the rain/hail/snow (we had all three). The seating itself consists of a bench, covered in cushions, a couple of tables, and a liberal scattering of stools. All of this is in front of the twin windows and to the left of the door, which is inset on the right.

Stepping inside, Kin stretches out ahead of you, the counter on the left being the dominant feature. There’s enough space between the counter and windows for a couple of small, two-person tables, which are to your left as you enter, but protected from the general to-and-fro of the other customers by the glass panel of the inset door. Meanwhile, opposite the counter, four high, narrow one-person tables project from the right-hand wall. The remaining seating is at the back, beyond the counter, where there are two rows of three two-person, square tables. The second of these has a padded bench running the width of the back wall, which gives you some idea of how narrow Kin is.

Despite being long and thin, Kin feels very bright and airy. This is partly due to the windows at the front, aided by a large skylight right at the back. The white-painted walls and ceiling also help, while there are numerous lights for those short, winter days. The look-and-feel is rounded off by the wooden furniture and wooden-topped, grey-tiled counter. This is a thing of beauty, which comes in two L-shaped sections, the first, towards the front, holding the food, while the second, towards the back, has the coffee and other hot drinks.

Having arrived at four o’clock and hence missed out on lunch (which, not unreasonably, stops being served at 3.30), I settled for a slice of the pear and apple cake. This consists of two layers of rich, lemon-flavoured cake, separated by a layer of apples, with a layer of pears baked into the bottom of the cake. It’s then served pear-side up. I found it lovely and fruity, while the cake was good enough to eat on its own.

I paired this with a flat white, made with Clifton‘s EQ espresso blend. Pleasingly, this arrived in a 6oz glass, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the correct size for a flat white. While I don’t fundamentally object to 8oz flat whites, I always find the smaller size more appealing. This was a particularly fine example, with the milk in perfect harmony with the coffee.

22 FOLEY STREET • LONDON • W1W 6DT
www.kincafe.co.uk +44 (0) 20 7998 4720
Monday 07:30 – 17:30 Roaster Clifton (espresso + batch-brew filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 17:30 Seating Tables, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 17:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 17:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 17:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday CLOSED Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
Chain No Visits 29th April 2016

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2 thoughts on “Kin

  1. someone has been venturing around my stomping ground! Love this little place, great coffee, and next time you neeeed to try the veggie and vegan food they serve here, so good.

    Jess

    • I always think of your stomping ground as east, so I keep forgetting you work around here…

      I got to Kin just in time to see them clearing away all the lunch stuff… It was very cruel!

      Thanks,
      Brian.

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