Store Street Espresso, Paddington

A lovely shot of Red Brick espresso in a classic white cup, pulled by Aurelien at Store Street Espresso in 2 Kingdom StreetWhen I started working in Sheldon Square, around the back of Paddington Station, in the summer of 2013, there was no decent coffee to be had. Anywhere. Then came Beany Green in 2014, followed by KuPP and Kioskafé in 2015. Then, in the very week my job came to an end, the works canteen was taken over by Baxter Storey, using coffee from Modern Standard. Talk about bad timing!

Since then Can Do Coffee has moved in, but all of these have been east of Sheldon Square. Until, that is, Store Street Espresso moved into the lobby of the office block on 2 Kingdom Street, literally around the corner from my old office. I made one attempt to visit a few weeks ago, but managed to pick the one day Store Street was closed for the installation of a new concrete counter-top. What was it I was saying about timing?

However, last week I was back, ironically in a new job, but working for four days in the basement of my old office. Fortunately we were occasionally let out for good behaviour, so I made the most of my opportunities to pay daily visits to the new Store Street Espresso…

You can see what I found after the gallery.

  • 2, Kingdom Street, just off Sheldon Square, home of the latest Store Street Espresso.
  • Looking back across the main lobby from Store St Espresso towards the doors on the far side.
  • Now that's a long way up! The ceiling, directly above Store St Espresso.
  • Enough gawping at the architecture: this stand-alone counter is what we've come for.
  • The head on view of the new Store St Espresso.
  • A different view of the counter. The water station is down here.
  • A slightly different view. As you can probably tell, I'm running out of views!
  • There is a limited selection of cake and sandwiches to the right of the counter.
  • The cookies and pastries are on top of the display cabinet...
  • ... with the sandwiches underneath.
  • A different view of the cookies, with some bean bags in the background...
  • The concise menu is on the wall behind the counter.
  • In case you are wondering where the coffee is from: Red Brick from Square Mile.
  • Okay, down to business. Let's go and see what the barista, Aurelien, is up to, shall we?
  • First step, zero the scales with the portafilter...
  • ... then grind.
  • The Mythos 1 does most of the work, auto-dosing a preset amount.
  • After checking the weight, Aurelien moves onto tamping.
  • Next, attach the portafilter. Then, the most important step: the careful cup placement!
  • And now we can watch the espresso extraction. Note the Aurelien times and weighs the shot.
  • Have I mentioned that I love watching espresso extract?
  • Almost done.
  • And here's my espresso, which was excellent. Really fruity and well-balanced.
  • However, it wasn't just espresso. This was my flat white from my first day (Monday).
  • The view from above.
  • On Tuesday, I was back for another flat white...
  • ... and more excellent latte-art. Store Street does have its own cups, by the way...
  • ... but I was taking my coffee away each day. Here's Wednesday's flat white...
  • ... with which I started off my day...
  • ... coming back after lunch for an espresso.
  • We may as well see this one from above too.
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Store Street Espresso is on the far side of the massive lobby of the soaring office block that is 2 Kingdom Street. Don’t be put off though: anyone is allowed into the lobby and hence has access to Store St. In contrast, to get to The Works Café, which is in my old office building, you have to be either staff or a visitor and, if you’re a visitor, you need to be escorted at all times, even when you’re getting coffee. Ironically it was far easier for me to be let out of the building to get my coffee from Store St or Beany Green than it was to visit The Works Café…

So, back to 2 Kingdom Street. Just stroll in and head diagonally across the lobby, ignoring the reception desk and the security barriers by the lifts. On the far side you’ll see what looks like a row of offices/kiosks running off to your left. There are also some tables here and more off to the right. However, what we’re looking for is directly ahead, tacked, it seems, onto the end of the row of offices. This standalone counter is the home of the latest Store Street Espresso, following on from the original on Store Street and its sister branch, Continental Stores.

There’s not a lot to the new Store Street. It really is just a counter, behind which the barista, Aurelien, serves some excellent Red Brick espresso from London stalwarts Square Mile (as an aside, if Aurelien’s not there, just wait; he’s usually somewhere in the vicinity and will, as if by magic, appear, usually from whichever direction you’re not looking at the time). If you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cookies and pastries, plus some tasty-looking sandwiches. Although it feels like it should be a takeaway-only joint, Store Street has proper cups, which is a bonus. You’re welcome to have your coffee while standing at the counter chatting with Aurelien or to take it to one of the nearby tables. Of course, you can also get a takeaway if you need to get back to your basement (err, I mean office).

There are no pour-overs or guest single-origin espressos, but what Aurelien does, he does very well. I turned up on Monday for a flat white and returned each day thereafter. On Wednesday I visited Aurelien twice, first for a flat white, before returning after lunch when he pulled me a lovely espresso. Normally I’m not the biggest Red Brick fan, but this was excellent, a really well-balanced but fruity shot. I was so impressed that I returned on Thursday, my last day, when I had another one and finally admitted who I was…

2 KINGDOM STREET • LONDON • W2 6BD
www.storestespresso.co.uk
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Square Mile (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Bean Bags
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday CLOSED Wifi N/A
Sunday CLOSED Power N/A
Chain Local Visits 22nd – 25th August 2016

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