I finally tracked down Nude Espresso on Soho Square, despite having walked past it without noticing it for a year and a half! Often first impressions count and while I’ve had many first impressions on entering coffee spots over the years, this is the first time it’s been “wow, this smells nice!”. Clearly something delicious had been baking, either that or Nude Espresso is being very clever with piping in smells.
My other early impression is that Nude Espresso isn’t very big, but manages to pack a lot in, offering impressive breakfast and lunch menus, a range of delicious cakes, and a choice of regular, decaf and pour-over single origin, all roasted by Nude Espresso itself. Best of all, you can sit and watch the chef at work, which probably explains where the delicious baking smells come from…
January 2016: Sadly Nude’s branch in Soho Square has closed. You can still find Nude at the roastery on Hanbury Street and also in a new location on Bell Lane.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
You think you know somewhere, but every now and then something comes along to surprise you. So it was with Nude Espresso. I thought I knew Soho and Soho Square, having walked through it many, many times, so I was quite surprised when I came across Nude Espresso on twitter and discovered it had a branch on Soho Square!
Now, in my defence, Nude Espresso is hidden away in the northeast corner behind the hoardings surrounding one of the massive holes that Crossrail has been digging for what seems like years. In fact, for a while, I was convinced that Nude Espresso was actually down one of the holes, which would explain why I hadn’t found it! And, also in my defence, it’s only been there since June 2011, so I haven’t walked past it that many times!
Nude Espresso is both a roaster, with its headquarters just off Brick Lane, and a café with branches on Soho Square and at Hanbury Street in the East End, which is where it all started. You can buy all of Nude Espresso’s beans at either of the two cafés.
As well as the usual espresso-based drinks with a choice of the regular espresso blend (which was the East Espresso blend while I was there) and the decaf bean (organic Del Obispo), there is also a pour-over option made with a regularly-changing single origin bean (Sidamo Korate when I was there). For those not of a coffee persuasion, there’s a range of teapigs tea. Had I had more time, I’d have sampled the coffee options more widely, but as it was, I opted for an espresso. It was well made, with an excellent crema, but as seems to be the trend these days, slightly too sweet and fruity for my palette.
As I’ve said, it’s not a huge place, with the kitchen, cake counter and espresso machine down one side and a row of seven tables on the other, with a bench running along the wall and stools on the other side. Added to that, there’s a small mezzanine level accessible by stairs at the back and a couple of tables outside.
For somewhere so small, there’s an impressive menu offering breakfast and lunch. In fact, I am regularly tempted by Nude Espresso’s lunch offerings on twitter and my original plan was to get there for lunch. Alas, it was not to be. Instead I had to settle for a cake and was spoilt for choice, cake being the other thing that Nude Espresso’s twitter feed regularly tempts me with. In the end I went for a cube of the Lamington, a vanilla sponge rolled in dark chocolate and coconut. I don’t think I’ve ever been physically intimidated by a cake before, but it was worth it since it was lovely.
Nude Espresso was pretty busy while I was there, with what looked like regulars outnumbering the casual visitors like me. It’s not really a place for lingering though and the throughput seems to support that, despite several people holding (short) business meetings there. However, good coffee and made-on-the-premises food is a winning combination and at some point I’ll be back for lunch!
|19 SOHO SQUARE • LONDON • W1D 3QN|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables (outside too)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard (£6 minimum)|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Saturday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||Local||Visits||16th January 2013|
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