I came across Muni Coffee last year on Kickstarter. The brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Julian and Jena, the idea was to bring the Filipino specialty coffee to the British coffee-drinking public by working directly with farmers in the Philippines. The coffee’s imported to the UK, then roasted on behalf of Muni by north London’s, Campbell & Syme.
Intrigued, I backed the project, which was to help Jena and Julian establish a café in London where they could serve Muni’s coffee (you can also buy it on-line). That was in September and, after months of hard work, Muni’s imported its first container of green beans, roasted them and, on Saturday, the café opened on Fulham Road. Naturally, I had to visit…
It’s not a huge place, but has a simple, uncluttered layout with seating for about 15 inside and a few more at a couple of outside tables set back from the busy Fulham Road. Obviously the main draw’s the coffee, with an espresso-based menu offering the usual third-wave favourites. However, it’s not just about coffee, with Jena’s Filipino heritage shining through when it comes to the extensive food offering. There’s breakfast, lunch and cakes, fusing traditional British & Filipino cuisine.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Muni is towards the eastern end of the Fulham Road, filling an interesting gap between Fulham Broadway (more of which in future Coffee Spots) and South Kensington. Set back from the busy road, it’s next to a currently vacant shop and an independent book shop in an area that has plenty of local, independent business (as well as several outposts of the chains). From the outside, it has a simple, black façade, a large window on the right and broad, recessed double doors on the left.
Inside the layout matches the clean, uncomplicated lines of the exterior. The seating, with the exception of the four-person window-bar to the right, is ahead of you against the left-hand wall. There is a four-person table parallel to the wall, another perpendicular to it and a final two-person table right at the back, up against the back wall. The counter, a two-part affair with a striking, saw tooth pattern, is on the right-hand side, while a corridor in the middle of the back wall leads to the kitchen.
The décor is equally simple and uncomplicated. The colour-scheme is predominantly black and white and very modern, with clean lines and geometrical shapes. The exception to this is in the ceiling, where lovely old, exposed wooden beams give a hint as to the building’s actual age. The large, south-facing window/doors at the front make for a bright, welcoming interior.
The front part of the counter (which is about twice the size of the back part) is largely given over to food, all of which you have to walk past in order to get to the till. There are displays of both savoury snacks (I was particularly taken by the Filipino aubergine tart) and sandwiches, coupled with cakes and pastries. This was all backed up with full breakfast and lunch menus.
Beyond the till is the second part of the counter, given over to the espresso machine. The coffee comes from the Torre Farm in Benguet and is available to purchase as a single-origin filter (I was presented with a bag as my Kickstarter reward). However, for espresso, it was blended 50/50 with a Papua New Guinea coffee.
I tried this, at Julian’s recommendation, as an espresso and found it really interesting, with plenty of body. Initially it had a hint of earthiness, but on the second sip it was a little sharper with citrus notes coming through on the third sip. When I got home, I tried the coffee as a pour-over, really liking: it was smooth, well-balanced and fruity, but lacking the espresso’s earthiness (I suspect that was the Papua New Guinea).
Of course, I had to try something from the kitchen. I’d already had lunch, but my eye was caught by the sign by the till explaining the “merienda”, a Filipino tradition of eating a sweet or savoury snack, with coffee, of course, between lunch and dinner. Muni was offering a turon, a sweet, crunchy banana spring roll with a caramel glaze. Naturally I had to try one!
Unfortunately, they’d just run out and had to make a new batch from scratch, so while I was waiting, the kitchen sent out a little treat for me to enjoy with my coffee This turned out to be a pandan cheesecake with coconut-topping, which was divine. When my turon arrived, it was pretty good too, with the sticky glaze going well with the soft, whole banana in the interior.
December 2016: Muni Coffee Co. was a runner-up for the 2016 Most Passionate About Coffee Award.
|166 FULHAM ROAD • LONDON • SW10 9PR|
|www.municoffee.com||+44 (0) 7428 693114|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:30||Roaster||Campbell & Syme (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:30||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:30 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:30 – 17:00||Power||Yes.|
|Chain||No||Visits||11th June 2016|
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