London Grind

The London Grind logo, taken from the wall outside.London Grind, at the southern end of London Bridge, was the first of London’s growing Grind chain to offer full restaurant service in addition to its tried and tested espresso bar by day/cocktail bar by night model. It’s also undergone a recent expansion which has added a large seating area at the back and more than trebled the size of the kitchen.

There are several seating options, largely depending on why you are at Grind. If you’re dining, then there’s the aforementioned seating area, while if you are here for the espresso bar (day) or cocktail bar (evening) then you can sit at the counter. As a half-way house, a range of tables with padded benches lines the front wall where you can sit sipping your coffee/cocktails or having a more informal dining experience. As well as breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there are also cakes and, at lunch-time, sandwiches.

This was the first time I’d visited a Grind since the chain started roasting its own coffee in its new Shoreditch HQ. In keeping with the tried and trusted Grind model, there is both a house-blend (for milk-based drinks) and single-origin (espresso, Americano, etc) on espresso, as well as decaf.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • London Grind, conveniently located at the southern end of London Bridge.
  • It's a big, handsome building with the door up a small flight of steps from the pavement.
  • Just in case you were wondering if you'd come to the wrong place...
  • ... and just in case you were wondering what London Grind did.
  • There is another entrance, on the left-hand side off the lobby of the main building.
  • On the inside, looking out into the lobby.
  • The view from just inside the side door, looking along the length of London Grind.
  • There's plenty of cafe-style seating here, incuding this round table to the left of the door.
  • Looking back towards the side door, showing more of the tables.
  • Another of the tables in the long part of London Grind.
  • Large tables seem to alternate with smaller ones, like this one.
  • Another view back towards the (now distant) side door.
  • You can sit at the counter if you want...
  • ... or there's always one of the tables by the windows that we've already seen.
  • This one is just to the right of the front door...
  • ... which we can see here...
  • ... while this very cosy round table is on the other side.
  • If you come in this way, you'll be greeted by the front of house staff...
  • ... who will be happy to seat you in London Grind's dining room. This stretches out ahead...
  • ... of you, with three rows of tables. The kitchen, meanwhile, is to the right.
  • If that wasn't enough choice, you can also sit at the counter, which wraps around 180⁰.
  • Here's the view when sitting on the other side of the counter, looking towards the dining area.
  • Naturally I was fascinated by the lighting, with this one in particular grabbing my attention.
  • There are two pairs of these, which hang over the left-hand end of the counter.
  • Last picture, I promise.
  • There were also some interesting lights in the dining room area.
  • These pairs of bulbs (which are also in the other part of London Grind) got my attention.
  • A simple, but very effective design.
  • I also liked these rows of cylindrical spot lights.
  • When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life: the Samuel Johnson quote graces the wall.
  • The coffee end of the operation faces out onto the long part of London Grind...
  • ... although this is also the bar part of the operation!
  • The left-hand end of the counter houses the cakes and pastries...
  • ... which are set out to tempt you.
  • In a typical Grind set-up there are twin two-group La Marzocco espresso machines...
  • .. and four grinders; two for the house-blend & one each for the single-origin & decaf.
  • You can also buy the coffee beans to take away.
  • My (single-origin) espresso in a classic red cup...
  • ... and my slice of Mandarin Cake.
  • From my first visit before Christmas, I had the mushroom gnocchi for dinner...
  • ... and an apple crumble in a glass for dessert.
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London Grind occupies a handsome building at London Bridge’s southern end, with access from the bridge itself. There are two doors, one from the street at the left hand end, the other from the lobby of the adjoining building at the right-hand end. London Grind offers two distinct spaces, the result of its recent expansion.

Along the front, there’s the original London Grind, stretching between the front door (left) and side door (right). A row of tables lines the front wall, while the counter occupies the back. Entering by the right-hand door, London Grind still gives the impression of a classic Grind espresso/cocktail bar. Indeed, had you come here a few months ago, that’s all there was to it.

However, entering by the left-hand door, as I did, you see a very different London Grind. This stretches out ahead of you behind the left-hand end of the counter. Here is the large, high-ceilinged dining area with three rows of tables, one along the left-hand wall, one down the middle and one down the right. The two outer rows continue along the back wall to form a horse-shoe like arrangement. Talking of horseshoes, the counter also wraps around 180⁰ at the left-hand end, offering classic bar seating on either side, while to the right, you can sit coffee-shop style, facing the espresso machine.

I visited London Grind twice, once just before Christmas for dinner and again in the New Year when I just missed the breakfast service (which stops at noon). Thereafter it switches to a lunch service and, since I didn’t want a big lunch, I instead sat at the counter for an espresso and slice of mandarin cake (a very fine moist sponge with chunks of chocolate). Sitting there, I was reminded of how much I enjoy being at the counter, something I rarely do these days.

My espresso was a Rwandan single-origin which Grind uses in all its non-milk drinks. This was the first time that I’d visited since Grind started roasting its own coffee and while it was okay, I recall liking the espresso more when it was roasted by Brighton’s Small Batch. However, this may have as much to do with seasonal variation in the beans as the change in roasting.

My previous visit had been for dinner when I’d sat in the new extension. In contrast to the other Grinds I’ve visited (Soho Grind and Shoreditch Grind) this felt much more like a restaurant doing good coffee than a coffee shop doing great food. Whereas you’d normally expect to find baristas taking your order in a coffee shop, here it was all front of house staff and waiters. Not that it’s a bad thing, just a very different experience.

For dinner, I had an excellent mushroom gnocchi. Gnocchi can sometimes be very heavy, but these were light and tasty. There were also lots of mushrooms which really added to the dish. I followed this with apple crumble for dessert, which was served in a glass. I’m not convinced that this is the best way to serve it, but it was excellent nonetheless. Big chunks of apple with cloves and an oat-based crumble, plus vanilla ice cream on top, it was delightful, while the glass at least meant that the ice cream didn’t melt too quickly.

December 2017: London Grind has won the 2017 Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

2 LONDON BRIDGE • LONDON • SE1 9RA +44 (0) 20 3019 7178
Monday 07:00 – 00:00 Roaster Grind (espresso + only)
Tuesday 07:00 – 00:00 Seating Tables, Counter
Wednesday 07:00 – 00:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Dinner, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 00:00 Service Table
Friday 07:00 – 01:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 01:00 Wifi Free (with login)
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 19th December 2016, 9th January 2017

Disclaimer: in 2015, Grind launched a bond to fund its current expansion. I invested in this bond, and, like all bond-holders, receive free coffee as a reward (although I still have to pay for everything else). My decision to write about London Grind was in no way influenced by my investment.

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10 thoughts on “London Grind

  1. Thanks for sharing, haven’t heard of the London Grind before and am very eager to check it out now, sounds like it has something for everyone and every time of the day! It is great to see more coffee business doing the ‘cafe by day, cocktail by night’ approach, it creates a great dynamic and gives fresh life to the cafe, we’re seeing more of them down here in Devon

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