Notes, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf

A lovely flat white in a classic white cup, complete with impressive latte-art at Notes at Crossrail Place.For the longest time, Canary Wharf, and the area around it, was a desert when it came to quality coffee. Then along came Taylor Street Baristas, with a second branch in nearby South Quay (both now gone). Also expanding east is Notes, the coffee-and-wine outfit which now roasts its own coffee and boasts five outlets, including King’s Cross, Moorgate and a branch in Canary Wharf tube station.

The latest Notes is also at Canary Wharf, this time in Crossrail Place, the new station for the Crossrail line. It doubles as a shopping centre, which opened in May 2015, despite Crossrail itself being several years from completion. Notes is on the ground floor and, in an area where businesses tend to keep to office hours and shut at the weekends, it refreshingly stays open late into the evening, as well as at weekends, serving Notes’ familiar mix of speciality coffee, wine, craft beer and small plates.

The newer Notes have outstanding designs and Crossrail Place is no exception. Even though it lacks the mezzanine level of King’s Cross, Crossrail Place might well be my favourite, squeezing itself into a weird space with some aplomb. Needless to say, the coffee is very good as well!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The new Notes in Crossrail Place at Canary Wharf.
  • On the outside, looking in...
  • Lots of glass on the outside means lots of light on the inside.
  • There are also several semi-sheltered tables outside.
  • Stepping inside, a panoramic view to the right, looking towards the counter.
  • Meanwhile, to the left of the door, there's some more seating...
  • ... including this window-bar...
  • ... and some tables down the centre.
  • There are also these tables/benches, familiar from Notes Kings Cross, on the other wall.
  • They continue around the corner of this rather odd-shaped building.
  • A view along the bench/table seats towards the rest of Notes...
  • ... which is where the bulk of the seating is.
  • A panoramic view from by the near end of the counter.
  • An interesting feature is this L-shaped island seat between the door and the counter.
  • A slightly different view of the island seating.
  • There's more seating along the windows immediately to the right of the door.
  • The chairs, by the way, are as comfortable as they look.
  • The last of the seating is at this mirrored bar at the far end of Notes.
  • A panoramic view from the far end of Notes, looking back towards the door.
  • Despite all the windows, Notes has some seriously impressive lights.
  • I was particularly taken by these two bare bulbs...
  • ... seen here in close up.
  • I also liked the cylindrical light shades which lined the windows.
  • This being Notes, there has to be a chandelier made of angle-poise lamps...
  • ... I think it's the law, you know.
  • The counter: two tills, two espresso machines, two grinders. Millions of staff!
  • If you don't fancy espresso, there's bulk brew, made regularly in small quantities.
  • Notes through the looking glass.
  • A more conventional view of the staff hard at work!
  • Notes has a takeaway lid for every circumstance...
  • ... and if you missed that lot at the end of the counter, there are more by the door.
  • If you're staying in, help yourself to water from this shelf opposite the counter.
  • Every Notes has one of these.
  • It also seems that they all do Jazz as well.
  • Good.
  • Talking of which... breakfast!
  • There are plenty of goodies on offer...
  • ... including Crosstown Doughnuts and loads of cake!
  • There's also a chiller cabinet full of soft drinks.
  • Notes also does wine and beer...
  • ... with a particular emphasis on the wine. Although the Jungle Book was a bit incongruous!
  • The wine list.
  • However, I'd come for coffee.
  • Notes roasts all its own coffee these days.
  • Time to order at the busy counter.
  • My flat white, with its excellent latte art.
  • I also had some toast for breakfast.
  • You can't really beat toast, lovely, hot toast, smoothered in butter.
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Situated on the ground floor of the new Crossrail building, which itself sits on an artificial island in the middle of North Dock, on the northern edge of Canary Wharf, Notes is fairly easy to find once you know roughly where you’re going.  If you’re familiar with the newer Notes, such as Moorgate and King’s Cross, it will hold no surprises in either look or feel. There are the floor-to-ceiling windows extending around two sides, plus tables on the pedestrian walkway outside. Although there’s not much of a view, they make a pleasant enough option when the weather’s nice, not really being sheltered enough when it’s raining.

Inside, it’s bright and airy, with high, exposed ceiling. Midway between King’s Cross (smallest) and Moorgate (largest) in size, the cosy atmosphere’s more in keeping with King’s Cross than Moorgate. The shape is weird though, even by Notes’ recent standards, the floor plan bring to mind a croissant with a flat front edge (it’s long and thin, with a bulge in the middle).

The flat edge, which runs along the southern edge of Crossrail Place, is all windows, the door about one third of the way along on left, opposite the bulge. There’s seating to the left, where the far end is also a window, with the bulk of the seating to your right. Ahead and to the right is an L-shaped island bench in the centre of the room, behind which is the counter. Initially slightly disorientating, it is in fact an incredibly clever use of the space, since it channels you to the left, which in turn leads you along the counter, past the cake, to the till. You then keep going past the twin espresso machines to collect your (takeout) coffee.

If you’re staying in, grab a glass of water and head for your seat, which could include one of several window-bars, tables, benches or the island bench itself. If you do sit there, don’t worry about feeling as if everyone will be constantly walking around/past you (a frequent problem in coffee shops). The seating is cleverly screened from the counter, making it a delightful spot.

I’d popped into Notes for breakfast, having surprisingly found myself in Canary Wharf first thing in the morning. Naturally, I chose a flat white to start my day and was rewarded with a rather fruity, punchy drink which left me feeling that I’d probably find the espresso, on its own, a little too much for my palate. In milk, however, it was ideal.

If I have one slight criticism of Notes is that it’s quite hard to see what coffee is on espresso or in the batch brew filter (no pour-over options here). Although the coffee shop in Canary Wharf station has a board explaining which beans are on, I looked around in vain for one here or at King’s Cross. With that in mind, I believe I had the San Juan espresso, a single-origin (Notes only roasts single-origins) from Guatemala, but I’m not 100% sure.

I paired this with some very fine and crunchy sour-dough toast, served with a couple of packets of butter. However, the jam, rather than coming in an undersized pot, as is often the case, arrived in a huge dollop on a little saucer, something of which I heartily approve.

UNIT CR24 • CROSSRAIL PLACE • LONDON • E14 5AR +44 (0) 20 7519 6503
Monday 07:00 – 21:00 Roaster Notes Coffee (espresso + batch brew filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 21:00 Seating Tables, Bars, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 21:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 22:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 22:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 18:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 29th October 2015

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12 thoughts on “Notes, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf

  1. Have you tried the coffee in canary wharf – west india quay? I know from my own experience that what they serve there is mind blowing and i am pretty sure they have been there for years 🙂

  2. I think He’s talking about Taylor St Baristas. BTW I tried the above place on the 16th December & found the coffee there (Flat White) to be excellent. Notes also have a Takeaway in Canary Wharf Tube station, Taylor Street Baristas also have a smaller place next door to Barclays which was queuing out the door at 3.30pm that afternoon. That was good too but the milk could’ve been warmer. Canary Wharf could do with more 3rd wave coffee shops from what I’ve seen.

    • Funny you should mention the one in Canary Wharf station; I’ve just come out from there. Great coffee.

      The reason I ended up in Crossrail Place when I did was because Taylor Street Baristas was queuing out of the door, as was Notes in Canary Wharf. There’s also a TSB in South Quay, but I suspect the area could support more speciality coffee.


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