I honestly thought that New York City’s I Am Coffee had the 2013 Coffee Spot Award for “Smallest Coffee Spot” sown up. Then I found Goodge St Espresso. Whereas I Am Coffee is wide and tall, but not very deep, Goodge St Espresso is long and thin and not very tall. There are a few Coffee Spots where I can touch both walls with arms outstretched: Goodge St Espresso is the first where I can do that while standing against one of the walls! Think of a corridor with good coffee at the end of it and cake along the way, and you won’t go too far wrong.
Setting your expectations is key with Goodge St Espresso. Don’t expect somewhere that you can linger: the only place to sit is outside on a couple of stools. Don’t expect fancy cups: the only sort you get at Goodge St Espresso are takeaway, although as takeaway cups go, they’re very fine indeed. Do expect a warm welcome, some fine coffee and plenty of homemade cakes. Surprisingly for such a small place, Goodge St Espresso offers a choice of an espresso blend and a single origin, both from Nude Espresso.
July 2016: not sure when it happened, but Goodge St Espresso is sadly no more. I walked by the other day and it had closed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Goodge St Espresso had been open for just four months when I paid a visit. Pleasingly located on Goodge Street (just off Tottenham Court Road, around the corner from Goodge Street tube station), it’s a welcome addition to a part of London that, while not awash with great coffee, has a few good options nearby such as No 114 TAP, the new Dunne Frankowski in Sharps Barbers and Lantana.
As usual, I discovered it on twitter, marking it down as one to visit when next in the area. So it was that on a dull October evening I found myself wandering down Goodge Street and decided to pop in. It’s a good job I was looking for it though, since it’s the sort of place you can go straight past if you’re not keeping an eye out. Essentially as wide as its front door (a neat, folding two-part glass contraption), Goodge St Espresso’s sign is actually bigger than the store itself!
Stepping inside you do feel as if you’ve walked into a corridor. Halfway down, sort of on the left, is the counter, which looks to have been made of a piece of plywood balanced on an oil drum, though I’m sure it’s more secure than that! It’s just big enough for the (small) espresso machine with just enough space to the right to allow the barista to squeeze past into the small preparation area behind it.
As you come in, the two walls offer contrasting styles. To your left it looks like chipboard, while opposite, on your right, is a beautiful, bare-brick wall. Here you’ll find a lovely old clock, a typewriter and a table full of cake. And that’s about it.
Small St Espresso makes fellow London newcomer, Brewsters N7, look positively spacious. Whereas in Brewsters, you could just about get away with not engaging with the barista, in Goodge St Espresso, this is impossible, so it was just as well that Umair, who was working during my visit, was a lovely, engaging man who also made excellent coffee. I had a choice of Nude’s east espresso blend and a Rwanda Shara (full tasting/brewing notes from Nude hang on the wall opposite the cakes).
After a brief discussion about my coffee tastes, and having excluded an espresso on cup grounds, Umair and I decided I should try a piccolo with the single origin, which was a good call. The Rwanda is a subtle, sweet coffee which blends well with the milk. More importantly, in the piccolo, the relatively small volume of milk allows the flavours of the coffee to come through good and strong.
With little else to do, I chatted with Umair, who told me that all the cakes are baked by the owner, Fadi, who makes whatever he feels like in the morning and brings them into the shop. Sometimes, Umair confessed, he gets jealous of Fadi’s cakes, which are so good (and so reasonably-priced) that they can outsell the coffee!
Umair told me that Goodge St Espresso has been slowly building its customer base. Now, he says, he knows most of his customers by name and knows what they want before they order. Sadly I’m never going to be a regular-enough visitor for that sort of service, but I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit!
|31B GOODGE STREET • LONDON • W1T 2PR|
|www.facebook.com/GoodgeStreetEspresso||+44 (0) 7816 981957|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Stools (outside)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||25th October 2013|
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