Tucked away in Westbourne Park tube station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines, two stops west of Paddington, is the delightful Bica Coffee House. Having bemoaned the absence of top quality coffee in tube stations, I’ve now found two in as many months. However, unlike Piccadilly Grind, which I believe is a pop-up, Bica is here to stay.
Serving takeaway only, It’s a small spot, occupying what could have been an old booking office or kiosk. There is, however, a generous serving hatch and shelf, which is large and deep enough for a decent display of pastries and other baked goodies, as well as affording a view of the bright red two-group La Marzocco.
Unlike many coffee stalls/kiosks at stations, Bica’s commitment to excellence is there at the outset. The coffee is from east London roasters Nude Espresso and there are no 12-second extractions here, despite the steady stream of customers, while the milk is properly steamed, resulting in a great texture. There’s a decent range of espresso-based drinks: espresso and Americano, plus macchiato, cortado, flat white, latte and cappuccino. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s mocha and hot chocolate, plus tea of various types.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Bica Coffee House was set up by owner, Ben, who, unable to find decent coffee in the neighbourhood, decided to open his own coffee shop. As you do. Bica has strong Portuguese roots: Ben grew up there, while Andre, one of the two regular baristas, is also Portuguese. The area around Westbourne Park has a strong Portuguese community, so it made sense to call the new coffee shop Bica, which means “espresso” in Portuguese.
Westbourne Park tube station is a typical suburban tube station; that is, it’s overground, actually built on a bridge over the tracks. Coming in from the street, Bica is on the left-hand side of the long, thin concourse, built into the left-hand wall of the station. It’s surrounded with delightful green tiles, offset by a grey surround.
As previously mentioned, the counter is quite large for what is in effect a hole-in-the-wall operation. There’s a cabinet on the left for soft drinks and on the right is the espresso machine. In between there’s enough space for a plate of granola bars and a large, tiered cake stand which holds a tempting array of pastries, although you have to get up fairly early if you want any of them. Two out of the three times I was there (around 9 o’clock in the morning) almost all of them were gone, and I was reliant on barista Jasmine to photograph the pastries in all their glory first thing in the morning. A small shelf in front of the counter holds a row of boxes with other baked goodies: waffles, Naked bars, biscuits and the like.
So to the coffee itself. Naturally, Bica is takeaway only, so if you want your coffee in a proper cup, you’ll need to bring your own (I took both JOCO Cup and Keep Cup). Impressively for somewhere so small, both Nude’s regular espresso and decaf blends are available. I had a regular latte, following it up with a decaf latte on my first visit. Of the two, the decaf was my favourite, a very sweet coffee which went very well with the milk. On my third visit, I tried a cortado. I’ve always found Nude’s espresso to have an edge to it, and this is much more apparent in the cortado, where it comes more strongly through the milk. The result is that it tastes less sweet and slightly darker.
|WESTBOURNE PARK STATION • GREAT WEST ROAD • LONDON • W11 1AB|
|Monday||06:30 – 12:00||Seating||N/A|
|Tuesday||06:30 – 12:00||Food||Cake|
|Wednesday||06:30 – 12:00||Service||Counter|
|Thursday||06:30 – 12:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||06:30 – 12:00||Wifi||N/A|
|Saturday||08:00 – 14:00||Power||N/A|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th September/3rd, 24th October 2014|
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