Today’s Saturday Short (published, shockingly, on a Wednesday) is something of a rarity (although it would be rarer still if it was actually on a Saturday!). While speciality coffee shops have made great bounds in recent years, speciality coffee in restaurants lags well behind. Lyle’s, on Shoreditch High Street, bucks this trend, plus it’s gone one better with a dedicated coffee bar inside the restaurant, so you can drink great coffee without having to eat as well. Just walk in, grab a stool at the counter to your right, and off you go!
Lyle’s is a multi-roaster, ordering in coffee from around the UK and beyond. The espresso changes every few days, while the filter, which is through the Clever Dripper, changes every week or so, with two different beans available. There’s also decaf. If you want to eat, Lyle’s serves lunch from 12:00 – 14:30 and dinner between 18:00 – 22:00.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Speciality coffee in restaurants is slowly catching on, but with my Coffee Spot hat on, I only really write about coffee shops. Lyle’s is an exception, since, as well as being a high calibre sit-down restaurant, it also has a dedicated coffee bar, open from eight o’clock, Monday to Friday. I went for lunch with Jess of EatingEast and, naturally enough, we stayed for coffee. For more on Lyle’s as a restaurant, see what Jess wrote about it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the coffee.
Lyle’s is located in Shoreditch’s Tea Building, which, despite the name, started life in the 1930s as a bacon-curing factory for Liptons (hence the tea connection). This magnificent building is mostly offices these days, with Lyle’s taking up residence on the ground floor. You enter through magnificent, arched double-doors next to a bus stop, finding yourself in an open lobby. Front-of-House is to the left (essential if you’re eating), but if you just want coffee, ignore the doors ahead of you and turn right, where you’ll find Lyle’s itself.
The counter is directly ahead of you, running along the front of the building. The restaurant’s to the left, with uniform rows of tables, the kitchen visible via an open counter at the back. However, for coffee, just sit down at the near end of counter and order. There’s a printed menu card and you’ll get a prime view of the espresso machine, side-on to your right at the end of the counter. Meanwhile, filter coffee pretty much gets made in front of you.
Lyle’s buys coffee from a variety of roasters. During our visit, there were samples from Ross-on-Wye’s James Gourmet, Bradford’s Casa Espresso and Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee. The coffee being served was from Clifton Coffee Roasters, with its EQ1 El Salvador single-origin on espresso, while the two filters were from Helsingborg’s Koppi. Jess and I decided to have one of each, the options being an Ethiopian (Biftu Gudina) and a Colombian (El Paraiso).
The coffee’s prepared in the Clever Dripper. The barista explained that it’s a very consistent method, which made service easy, particularly when he is on his own. While we were there, things were very busy, but he had time to talk to us, all the while making coffee. Despite the volume of orders, our filters arrived speedily enough, served in large glass carafes with a cups on side.
Technically, I had the Colombia, Jess the Ethiopian, but we shared them. For me, this was probably the wrong way around. The Colombian, with its much greater body, rather overpowered my palate, so I never really got the subtly of the Ethiopian. That said, both were fine, very well-made, cups of coffee.
|TEA BUILDING • 56 SHOREDITCH HIGH STREET • LONDON • E1 6JJ|
|http://lyleslondon.com||+44 (0) 20 3011 5911|
|Monday||08:00 – 23:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 23:00||Seating||Counter (coffee only), Tables|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 23:00||Food||Lunch, Dinner|
|Thursday||08:00 – 23:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||08:00 – 23:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||12:00 – 23:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||15th July 2016|
Don’t forget to check out what Jess made of lunch at Lyle’s, plus she has a far better picture of our coffee than I managed to get!
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