Darcie & May Green

Some lovely latte art in a flat white to go, served in my Therma Cup at May Green in Paddington.Like my waistline when I eat their cakes, the Daisy Green/Beany Green chain is rapidly expanding. From its roots as a brunch spot at the original Daisy Green, through its various Beany Green coffee shops, the chain now encompasses everything from cocktails and craft beer to sit-down restaurants, all of which are combined in the (relatively) new Darcie & May Green. Opening late last year, they are a pair of canal boats, moored stern-to-stern on Regent’s Canal , in the heart of my old stomping ground around Sheldon Square. You’ll find them outside the back entrance to Paddington Station (this is the one down the right-hand side of the station by the Hammersmith & City/Circle Line).

May Green is a coffee shop by day and craft beer/cocktail bar by night, while Darcie Green is a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are joined by a continuous rooftop deck that runs the length of both boats. The coffee, as ever, is by fellow-Aussies, The Roasting Party, with a traditional espresso-based menu available in both May & Darcie Green, while May Green has a takeout window if you need a quick pick-me-up on the way from the station to the office.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Waiting for you as you emerge from Paddington Station are the twin canal boats of Darcie & May Green, moored back-to-back on the side of the Grand Union Canal.
  • This is the view if you approach from the direction of Paddington Basin.
  • You'll meet Darcie May first, which is the restaurant.
  • In the middle, the steps up to the roof-top terrace...
  • ... and then, at the other end, there's May Green, the coffee shop.
  • The view from the Sheldon Square end, May Green to the fore.
  • If you just want to pick up a coffee on the way to the office, you'll need this window.
  • Don't forget to bring your own cup. It will bemuse the barista, particularly if it's a tall one!
  • You can watch your coffee being made through the window.
  • Or take in the view along the multi-colour canal boats, designed by Peter Blake.
  • My flat white, ready for the office, in my Therma Cup.
  • Lovely latte art.
  • If you want to sit in, you're welcome to. Just head down the steps into the bow...
  • ... where you'll find a table, although you'll need to go inside (to the right) to order.
  • Alternatively, there's another door at the stern of May Green.
  • The steps lead to the left, depositing you...
  • ... at the end of the counter/bar.
  • If you come in through the bow, this is the view.
  • The counter/bar is on the right, next to the quayside. You can sit here on the bar chairs.
  • There are eight in all, some up at the far end...
  • ... where you'll find the beer taps. There are eight craft beers in all.
  • You'll find the bright yellow espresso machine at the other end of the counter.
  • If you don't fancy the counter, sit at one of the two tables by the door...
  • ... or sit out in the bow...
  • ... where you'll have this view.
  • The view from the windows on the canal side will be better once the building is finished!
  • At the far end of the counter is a display case with some interesting facts about the area.
  • These are supplemented by more titbits on the portholes between the windows.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • My decaf flat white.
  • If you're looking for something to eat, you'll need Darcie May. The door is at the stern.
  • The steps lead down to the right, where you'll need to wait to be seated.
  • The seating stretches off ahead of you towards the bow.
  • There are some four-person tables on the left...
  • ... but the majority of the tables are two-person ones.
  • The view from my table, looking back towards the counter and open kitchen.
  • Naturally, it's full table service.
  • I'll leave you with my dinner: the Jerkfruit Curry.
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Part of the growing number of excellent coffee options around Paddington, Darcie & May Green are moored directly opposite the station’s rear entrance. Darcie is on the right, her bow pointing towards Paddington Basin, while May is on the left, bow pointing towards Sheldon Square. Both have similar layouts, with open bows and covered seating inside. Access to each is down a flight of stairs near the stern, while May has another set of steps in her bow. Finally, there’s a flight of stairs in the middle where the two boats are stern-to-stern, which leads upstairs to the rooftop terrace.

If you want to eat (breakfast, lunch or dinner) head for Darcie, where the staff will show you to a table. If you’re after coffee, head over into May, where a dedicated window on the canal-side dispenses takeaway. Alternatively, head down either flight of steps and take a seat at a table or perch at the counter/bar. Finally, there’s the upstairs which, in my limited experience, is the preserve of the beer/cocktail drinkers, although you’re welcome to take your coffee upstairs if you like. There’s a long strip of astro-turf in the middle where you can sit, or there are picnic tables at either end. If you are drinking up here, you need to go downstairs to the bar in May, where you order and collect your drinks.

I visited Darcie & May Green three times, calling by for a takeaway flat white on my way to the office last week when I was back in Sheldon Square for work, popping in for coffee that weekend and finally having dinner at Darcie Green on Sunday evening.

Starting with my takeaway experience, you order at the window and can stand there, watching while the barista makes your coffee at your feet. You have to bend down to get your coffee, which can be a little awkward with a bad back (guilty as charged: getting back up was actually the tricky part), but otherwise it is a pretty slick operation and my flat white was everything I’ve come to expect from Beany Green/The Roasting Party, rich, creamy and very drinkable.

For my next visit, I popped into May Green. The layout is pretty simple, with the counter/bar running almost the full length of the quayside, the coffee towards the bow and beer at the stern. There are eight bar chairs spaced out along the bar/counter, while there are three two-person tables in the bow, one outside by the steps, the other two inside, one on either side.

During the day, the coffee is made here on the two-group La Marzocco FB80, but this is switched off mid-afternoon, at which point you can still order coffee, but it’s made next door on the one-group Linea Mini and brought through to you. I was there in the evening and had an excellent decaf flat white, every bit as good as the caffeinated one I had during the week.

I’ve had plenty of Beany Green breakfasts, brunches and lunches, but don’t often get the chance for dinner, so I thought I’d pop into Darcie Green on Sunday evening on my way back from the Birmingham Coffee Festival. The steps deposit you by the counter, where you wait to be seated. An open kitchen is to your left/behind you, while the seating runs the length of the boat ahead of you.

There are five two-person tables back-to-back on the right, while on the left are four two-person tables side-by-side, followed by three four-person tables. Finally, a pair of two-person tables occupy the open bow. There are large windows down either side of both boats, interspersed with portholes, so they are very bright spaces.

Unlike the brunch menu, which has lots of non-meat options, the lunch and dinner menus only really have one fish and two vegetarian options. On the other hand, if the food is good, you don’t need many choices. I opted for the Jerkfruit Curry, a new dish for me, with large chunks of curried fruit on a bed of turmeric rice, with a small pot of raita, some pickles and two small slices of flat bread on the side. Overall it was excellent, although if I had one small criticism, I’d have liked more bread.

Sadly there wasn’t time for dessert, although I can recommend the Melbourne Mars Bar cheesecake ball from visits to Timmy Green, while the Yogurt Pavlova caught my eye. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go back…

GRAND UNION CANAL • SHELDON SQUARE • LONDON • W2 6DS
www.daisygreenfood.com
Monday 07:00 – 23:00 Roaster The Roasting Party (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:00 – 23:00 Seating Tables, Counter
Wednesday 07:00 – 23:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 23:00 Service Order at Counter (May), Table (Darcie)
Friday 07:00 – 23:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 23:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 22:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 8th, 10th June 2018

You can also see what I made of all the other branches of Beany Green that I’ve visited.


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