The Press Room, Surbiton

An excellent double-shot Cortado from The Press RoomSurbiton’s The Press Room is the sort of place every town should have. Serving Has Bean coffee (we’ll get to that later) as part of an extremely comprehensive range of espresso-based drinks (I counted 12, not including Chai Latte and Hot Chocolate, both of which were on the menu under “Coffee”) and boasting 21 Terrific Teas (the menu neglects to say how many mediocre teas are served, but I suspect that the number is zero), the Press Room has something for everyone. If coffee and tea aren’t your thing then there are almost as many cold drinks, as well as wine, champagne and speciality beer. And cake. And toasted sandwiches.

Add to that, the Press Room is a lovely space to sit and consume these things. It’s a friendly, lively place, bright and spacious, with some very accommodating, happy staff. There’s a bar by the fully-retractable front windows, tables outside (on an admittedly busy/noisy street) and a generous provision of tables inside. The background music is unobtrusive and, in keeping with the name, there’s a supply of magazines that you can sit and read.

Oh yes, and The Press Room is one year old today (11th July 2013). Happy Birthday!

August 2015: The Press Room has switched from Has Bean to Origin and opened a second branch in Twickenham.

July 2020: The Press Room has reopened, offering sit-in and takeaway services. You can see what I made of it when I visited.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Surbiton Railway Station is nowhere near as handsome on the inside, which is how I usually see it as I speed through on a train to or from Waterloo. However, today I got off and had a chance to admire its fine Art Deco lines.
  • Step out of the station and The Press Room is just a short way down Claremont Road.
  • On sunny days, the bar is very popular with the customers.
  • I, however, am fascinated by the window. I need to come back at closing time to see how it slides out past the bar...
  • A window with a view, looking in. Normally I sit inside and look out, so I'm unreasonably excited by this!
  • Getting arty with the sugar bowl and depth of field...
  • Stepping inside, you are greeted by cake, which is how it should be...
  • ... with the rest of the counter beyond.
  • If you don't want to sit outside, there are these tables opposite the counter...
  • .... or this fine table just beyond it to the left...
  • ... or these fine, padded benches on the right which is where I ended up. The walls, by the way, are normally hung with local art, but I arrived during a change-over between displays.
  • So, to business and the very fine La Marzocco espresso machine.
  • Coffee is by Has Bean, or if that's not to your taste, there's tea. Lots of tea!
  • Or this fine selection of wine.
  • Nice mugs.
  • The selection of home brew kit is particularly impressive.
  • More home brew.
  • Ok. Time to order...
  • I started with this very fine toasted sandwich. Best-presented sandwich of the year?
  • My lovely double-shot cortado.
  • And my made-in-Devon Bakewell slice.
  • Finally, a word about the staff, who were lovely. That's the owner, David, in the red-and-white hoops. He involves all his staff in the running of the business and it shows. They all had a real commitment to The Press Room and it all helps to create the wonderful atmosphere there.
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The Press Room has been on my radar for some time, mainly due to the London Coffee App, which opens with a list of coffee shops, ranked by distance, starting with the one closest to your current location. Since I live in Guildford and often use the App at home for research, The Press Room is always at the top of the list. Intriguing… except that Surbiton’s not somewhere I ever go. It’s far easier for me to get to central London, so the nearest I’ve been is speeding by on a train en-route to Waterloo. Until now, that is…

The Press Room has a great layout, starting at the front where fully-retractable windows leave the entire store-front open to the street, except, ironically, for the door at the right-hand side. This is still needed to get past the bar, which, complete with bar stools, runs the length of the window! This neat arrangement allows customers to perch and bask in the open air on warm days, or sit behind glass, thumbing their collective noses at the elements if it’s cold or raining.

Inside there’s a double row of tables with fixed wooden stools opposite the counter and padded benches at the back with chairs. There’s also an eight-person table beyond counter. Normally the walls of the Press Room are hung with local art, but I cunningly arrived during a change-over between displays, so the walls were bare…

I arrived in dire need of something to eat and had an excellent roasted peppers and hummus sandwich. The ciabatta bread was toasted to perfection, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and I could really taste the hummus, which isn’t always the case. It was beautifully presented on a wooden platter.

I also ordered (and paid for) an espresso for afterwards, before remembering that the Press Room serves Has Bean Coffee. The lovely staff weren’t at all put out when I wandered up to change my order and wouldn’t hear of charging the difference in price (I did offer). But what to have? The Press Room has both a piccolo and cortado (as a single or double shot) on the menu, which led to the inevitable discussion about the difference.

It turns out that a Press Room piccolo is a single shot with a roughly equal amount of steamed (latte) milk. The double-shot cortado is effectively a large piccolo with twice the coffee/milk, while the single-shot cortado has the same amount of milk as the double-shot (so is either a milky piccolo or a weak cortado). Aren’t you glad I asked? I had the double-shot cortado, which was lovely, the milk blending perfectly with the coffee’s sweet notes to make a delightful drink with just the right edge in bitterness.

I also had a Devon-baked Bakewell Slice. Topped with a generous helping of flaked almonds and with a thin smear of jam (but enough that you could still taste it), I couldn’t distinguish between the pastry base and sponge topping. In fact, I dissected mine quite carefully, but still couldn’t find any difference. However, the resulting pastry-sponge-whatever-it-was was delicious; dense, but not heavy, with a pleasant texture and sweetness without being overwhelmed by sugar. I’m not quite sure what’s going on down in Devon, but I like it!

5 CLAREMONT ROAD • SURBITON • KT6 4QR +44 (0) 208 399 8313
Monday 07:00 – 18:30 Roaster Origin (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 18:30 Seating Tables, Counter
Wednesday 07:00 – 18:30 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 18:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 18:30 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:30 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power A few
Chain Local Visits 29th June 2013

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10 thoughts on “The Press Room, Surbiton

  1. Sounds, and looks, great! Yet another cafe to add to the ever growing list I have for my next visit to London.

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  3. The Press Room is my after-work (and sometimes before-work) spot, four to five times a week. Best coffee around, and the nicest place to de-stress for a while. Staff are first class.

    – John, Mr ‘Two-Lattes’ Biker 🙂

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