Workshop Coffee, Fitzrovia

The Workshop logo, a diamond inside a circle.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.

  • The latest outpost of the Workshop empire in Fitzrovia.
  • Workshop? Or the other place? I think I know where I'd rather be!
  • To door is slightly set back from the street and to the right.
  • However, before you go in, don't forget to look down!
  • The view from just inside the door, with James Bailey behind the counter.
  • The view towards the window. This time it's Sam the barista behind the La Marzocco.
  • The somewhat depleted cake/sandwich display in the window.
  • A slightly different view of the interior, with more of the wonderful parquet floor. The seating is through at the back, down the corridor on the right...
  • ... this corridor in fact.
  • There are two banks of padded benches: the red ones on the right...
  • ... and the blue-grey ones opposite.
  • At the back, stairs lead intriguingly down to... the toilet.
  • The red seats in more detail.
  • And the blue-grey ones. I love the bare, brick wall.
  • In contrast, the ceiling is modern industrial, with exposed pipework.
  • There are lots of great touches in the back, such as the desk lamps in the corners...
  • ... and the coat hooks.
  • The coffee tables are pretty neat too...
  • ... while even the bin doesn't seem out of place!
  • The view from the back towards the counter. In the corridor there's a lovely mirror.
  • Here it is in more detal. There's a beautifully tiled bar too.
  • The flowers are a nice touch.
  • The glazed tiles in close-up.
  • That's not the only beautiful tiling. Here's the takeaway shelf opposite the counter.
  • Nice tray...
  • ... even nicer tiles!
  • While you're there, take a look at the counter-top and see how the light plays on it.
  • On a more practical note, these shelves in the corner have beans and kit for sale.
  • While there's more kit behind the counter.
  • There's cake to go with your coffee...
  • ... and sandwiches. It was late in the day, so not much was left!
  • I had this very tasty mozzarella & pesto roll (the last one!).
  • Workshop's commendably short coffee menu...
  • ... which sits beside the three grinders (house blend, single origin, decaf).
  • Sam is hard at work on the espresso machine under James' watchful eye.
  • However, I have other ideas... Aeropresses, are you ready?
  • They've even got their own EK43 grinder at the back.
  • The result, a beautifully-presented (and lovely-tasting) Duromina.
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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!

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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15 thoughts on “Workshop Coffee, Fitzrovia

  1. Ciao Brian! I was in London for work and stumbled upon this place: good to see that you already covered it. The double espresso will prepare me for a very long day.

    Ciao and take care


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