From Australia to Sloan Square via Winchester: Party on Pavilion is the first (for now) coffee shop of Winchester-based Aussie imports, The Roasting Party. It opened in August last year and I popped along during its second week with a promise that I would return the following month after a trip to Chicago. Seven months later and slightly shame-faced, I finally made my return on a sunny Friday afternoon after a hectic travel schedule that had seen me return to Chicago and China at the end of last year with two trips to the USA this year.
From the street, Party on Pavilion looks to be a tiny spot, just a counter and a bench, but don’t let that put you off. There’s a staircase off to the right which seems almost an afterthought. This leads to the Party’s best feature, a sunny loft space which runs the full length of the building, where there’s plenty of seating.
When it comes to the coffee, the Roasting Party’s Drake Blend is on espresso, with the Party Blend reserved for milk-based drinks. There’s also a selection of two or three single-origins which change every few weeks, available through either Chemex or Aeropress.
May 2020: Party on Pavilion has reopened for takeaway service using the downstairs counter. There are no plans to reopen the upstairs, but Pavilion Street is now pedestrianised (in response to COVID-19), providing much needed outdoor seating which you are free to use. You can see what I made of the new-look Party on Pavilion when I visited in August.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Party on Pavilion is the first (but, I’m assured, not the last) coffee shop of Winchester-based roasters, The Roasting Party. Named after both roaster and its home, Pavilion Road, it’s just to the north of Sloane Square on the eastern edge of Chelsea. Once a residential street, full of two-up, two-down, brick-built terrace houses, it’s been transformed into a soon-to-be pedestrianised row of boutique shops, independent businesses and cafes. Party on Pavilion rubs shoulders with, for example, a wine bar and cheesemongers, while doughnut specialist and baker, Bread Ahead, is just two doors away.
Party on Pavilion looks to be a tiny spot, just a square window, glass door inset, with room enough inside for a counter at the back. However, looks can be deceptive, since there’s a second doorway on the right, opening onto a staircase heading upstairs (you can also get to the stairs from the main space), where you’ll find the main seating.
This betrays the building’s origins as a house, the doorway on the right being the original front door, which would have opened onto a tiny hall, a door to the left (long gone) leading into the living room, now home to the counter. There is some seating downstairs, by the way, a solitary bench occupying the window, with another outside when the weather’s nice. However, it’s a good spot to linger and chat with the barista who’s invariably behind the La Marzocco Strada espresso machine that dominates the small counter.
The stairs run up the right-hand side, taking you to the back of the building, where there’s a narrow window, plus the toilet, while the seating lines either side of a glorious loft-space which is open to the rafters. Looking towards the front, a bar runs alongside (and overlooks) the stairs on the left, seating provided by a row of comfortable wooden-topped stools. On the right, there’s a four-person table followed by a long, padded bench running along the wall, lined with five two-person tables.
There are two windows at the front, plus a glorious skylight on the right, all of which makes it a very bright space. At the front, over the door, a little alcove-like space houses a one-group La Marzocco that’s used for the latte art classes which are held upstairs.
On my first visit in August, the manager, Rosa, had no idea who I was, but happily gave me a tour of the upstairs, which was due to open the following day. Even more impressive, she instantly recognised me on my return seven months later!
I did my best to give the coffee menu a thorough going-over. On my first visit, I had the Party Blend in a piccolo, lovely & rich, milk and coffee in perfect harmony. I followed this with the Drake Blend as an espresso, served in a cylindrical espresso cups. I’m old school when it comes to my espresso cups never liking cylindrical ones. This one, though, was pretty neat, the espresso rich and well-balanced.
Party on Pavilion also does pour-overs, which I sampled on my return. There was an Ethiopian, Costa Rican and Kenyan through Chemex or AeroPress. Rosa recommended the Kenyan/AeroPress and what an excellent choice! Gorgeous, rich and fruity, with plenty of body, it was bursting with flavour. Rosa then brewed it through the Chemex to try and it was surprisingly different, the Chemex taking out much of the body, resulting in a far more subtle coffee, but lacking the fruity exuberance of the AeroPress. While I preferred the AeroPress, I would have happily drunk the Chemex and been quite content with it.
December 2018: Party on Pavilion was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Filter Coffee Award.
|253 PAVILION ROAD • LONDON • SW1X 0BP|
|www.theroastingparty.co.uk||+44 (0) 20 7730 6655|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||The Roasting Party (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Bar, Bench; Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||25th August 2017, 6th April 2018|
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