Lyle’s

A carafe of an Ethiopian single-origin coffee from Koppi made through the Clever Dripper at Lyle's in London.Today’s Saturday Short (published, shockingly, on a Wednesday) is something of a rarity (although it would be rarer still if it was actually on a Saturday!). While speciality coffee shops have made great bounds in recent years, speciality coffee in restaurants lags well behind. Lyle’s, on Shoreditch High Street, bucks this trend, plus it’s gone one better with a dedicated coffee bar inside the restaurant, so you can drink great coffee without having to eat as well. Just walk in, grab a stool at the counter to your right, and off you go!

Lyle’s is a multi-roaster, ordering in coffee from around the UK and beyond. The espresso changes every few days, while the filter, which is through the Clever Dripper, changes every week or so, with two different beans available. There’s also decaf. If you want to eat, Lyle’s serves lunch from 12:00 – 14:30 and dinner between 18:00 – 22:00.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Lyle's is in the Tea Building, on Shoreditch High St, conveniently hidden behind the bus stop.
  • That's better. It's a beautiful, 1930s building, constructed for Liptons (hence the name).
  • Let's go in, shall we? We, in this case, being myself & Jess of EatingEast.
  • Immediately on your left is the front-of-house desk, essential if you're here for lunch/dinner.
  • If you're just here for coffee, though, swing to your right and head on in.
  • The restaurant is beyond the counter...
  • ... with its neat rows of tables & kitchen at the back. The staff were prepping for dinner.
  • However, turn around and face the front. This is what we've come for: coffee!
  • Although first, lights. It wouldn't be a Coffee Spot post without lights.
  • There are in fact, two types of lights: these, which hang in rows above the tables...
  • ... and these. Which don't (in fact, they project out of the walls).
  • We'd actually come for lunch. I had this amazing treacle tart & raw milk ice cream for pudding.
  • But, as promised, there was also coffee. You can sit at the counter on one of five stools.
  • There's a menu on a cilpboard with the choice of (filter) coffee...
  • ... while all the coffee action takes place at this end, next to the door.
  • The espresso machine is side on, so you get a good view of the action...
  • ... while the filter coffee is taken care of by these two discreet taps.
  • There's a fully-stocked bar at the back behind the counter, with the coffee on the right.
  • Lyle's has many samples from around the country: this, from Neighbourhood, caught my eye.
  • However, these two, from Helsingborg's Koppi, were on offer during our visit.
  • The choice was between a Colombian and an Ethiopian.
  • The coffee is made using the Clever Dripper, a rarely used method which I really like.
  • In the end, we decided to have one of each. This is the Ethiopian (which Jess had)...
  • ... and this was my Colombian, although we ended up sharing the two :-)
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Speciality coffee in restaurants is slowly catching on, but with my Coffee Spot hat on, I only really write about coffee shops. Lyle’s is an exception, since, as well as being a high calibre sit-down restaurant, it also has a dedicated coffee bar, open from eight o’clock, Monday to Friday. I went for lunch with Jess of EatingEast and, naturally enough, we stayed for coffee. For more on Lyle’s as a restaurant, see what Jess wrote about it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the coffee.

Lyle’s is located in Shoreditch’s Tea Building, which, despite the name, started life in the 1930s as a bacon-curing factory for Liptons (hence the tea connection). This magnificent building is mostly offices these days, with Lyle’s taking up residence on the ground floor. You enter through magnificent, arched double-doors next to a bus stop, finding yourself in an open lobby. Front-of-House is to the left (essential if you’re eating), but if you just want coffee, ignore the doors ahead of you and turn right, where you’ll find Lyle’s itself.

The counter is directly ahead of you, running along the front of the building. The restaurant’s to the left, with uniform rows of tables, the kitchen visible via an open counter at the back. However, for coffee, just sit down at the near end of counter and order. There’s a printed menu card and you’ll get a prime view of the espresso machine, side-on to your right at the end of the counter. Meanwhile, filter coffee pretty much gets made in front of you.

Lyle’s buys coffee from a variety of roasters. During our visit, there were samples from Ross-on-Wye’s James Gourmet, Bradford’s Casa Espresso and Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee. The coffee being served was from Clifton Coffee Roasters, with its EQ1 El Salvador single-origin on espresso, while the two filters were from Helsingborg’s Koppi. Jess and I decided to have one of each, the options being an Ethiopian (Biftu Gudina) and a Colombian (El Paraiso).

The coffee’s prepared in the Clever Dripper. The barista explained that it’s a very consistent method, which made service easy, particularly when he is on his own. While we were there, things were very busy, but he had time to talk to us, all the while making coffee. Despite the volume of orders, our filters arrived speedily enough, served in large glass carafes with a cups on side.

Technically, I had the Colombia, Jess the Ethiopian, but we shared them. For me, this was probably the wrong way around. The Colombian, with its much greater body, rather overpowered my palate, so I never really got the subtly of the Ethiopian. That said, both were fine, very well-made, cups of coffee.

TEA BUILDING • 56 SHOREDITCH HIGH STREET • LONDON • E1 6JJ
http://lyleslondon.com +44 (0) 20 3011 5911
Monday 08:00 – 23:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 23:00 Seating Counter (coffee only), Tables
Wednesday 08:00 – 23:00 Food Lunch, Dinner
Thursday 08:00 – 23:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 23:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 12:00 – 23:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain No Visits 15th July 2016

Don’t forget to check out what Jess made of lunch at Lyle’s, plus she has a far better picture of our coffee than I managed to get!


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  1. Pingback: Lyles – EatingEast

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