The latest addition to the suddenly-expanding Workshop Coffee chain (now four and counting) is in fashionable Fitzrovia on Mortimer Street. Just around the corner from Broadcasting House, it joins a growing band of speciality coffee shops that include old stalwart, Kaffeine plus (relative) newcomers, Attendant, Mother’s Milk (now closed) and the recently-opened Curators Coffee Gallery. The one advantage it has over its near-neighbours, other than the novelty value of being new, is that it stays open until seven o’clock, making it the ideal spot to retire to before attending recordings of BBC Radio shows in the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House.
Unsurprisingly, given that this is Workshop, the coffee is all from the Workshop roastery in Clerkenwell, with the Cult of Done house-blend and a single-origin on espresso plus a choice of two single-origins on filter (one bulk-brew and one through the Aeropress). There’s also decaf, loose-leaf tea and a small range of sandwiches and cake.
The new Workshop’s not a huge place, with the front half given over to the counter and the seating in a separate area at the back, the two connected by a short corridor. You might be able to squeeze 15 people in all told.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
You enter via a slightly recessed door on your right. This 90⁰ turn leaves you standing with the window to your right and the counter in front of you, stretching away to your left. And what a counter! Spacious and uncluttered, forget the coffee for a moment and just look at the way the light plays on the volcanic Madagascan granite. If the barista’s attention is momentarily distracted, give it a quick stroke. No-one will mind.
Return your attention to the coffee. The simple menu is on a stand next to the three grinders (Cult of Done, single-origin and decaf), then comes the La Marzocco Linea PB and, at the far end, a filter-station with its own Mahlkönig EK43 grinder. To your right, in the window, a glass-topped extension holds the cake and sandwiches. Behind you on the left wall is a small shelving area with beans and coffee-making kit for sale.
Once you’ve ordered your coffee, make your way down the small corridor beyond the counter to your left, which leads to the seating area. This beautifully-appointed space starts off rather unpromisingly: in the corridor itself there’s a bare concrete wall on the left and, if you look up, you can see, in the modern fashion, the exposed air-conditioning and power conduits. However, beneath your feet is an impressive parquet floor (which extends into the front of the store) and, to your right, there’s a small stand-up bar with a mirror above it, with hooks underneath for coats. The best part is the amazing glazed tiling on the bar itself.
Stepping into the seating area proper, you are greeted by blue-grey walls on the right and bare bricks to your left. The seating is provided by two L-shaped padded benches, a red one on the right and a blue-grey one on the left. Both have two small, stone-topped coffee tables, but the bench on the right is about twice the size of the one on the left.
The only natural light comes from the front windows via the (wide) corridor. However, there are plenty of lights, making it a bright space. A set of beautiful wooden stairs right at the back lead tantalisingly down, but there’s only the toilet and a staff-only kitchen/storage area at their foot.
I had an excellent pesto, mozzarella and tomato roll to stop my stomach rumbling (I was going on to a recording at Broadcasting House). It had good-quality mozzarella, very tasty pesto and lovely bread; good crust, chewy, but with plenty of body.
Having had the Cult of Done many times, I went for filter coffee. There was a Columbian on bulk-brew, which sounded interesting. I really should have challenged my (rapidly shrinking) prejudice against bulk-brew but instead I tried the Ethiopian Duromina on the Aeropress. At least I didn’t regret my choice.
It arrived beautifully-presented on a small, wooden tray, with a metal carafe, lovely blue cup and glass of water. Having learnt my lesson from Bean & Bud, I ate my sandwich while the coffee cooled and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a very smooth, subtle cup, easy on the palette, with a hint of sweetness that grows as it cools.
Footnote: there’s no Wifi but if you’re near the front, you can get onto Starbucks’ Wifi. This pleases me no end!
|80A MORTIMOR STREET • LONDON • W1W 7FE|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Workshop (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Padded Benches, Coffee Tables, Bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||27th June 2014|
You can see what I made of Workshop’s Marylebone branch when I visited in March 2017.
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