Fade To Black

The Fade to Black logo from the front of the store on Uxbridge Road in Hanwell.A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip to southwest London, taking in the likes of Beanberry Coffee, Woof Coffee and The Press Room in Twickenham. At the end of my trip, I found myself in Ealing and, since I was there, I decided that I would carry on going west. Really west. All the way out to (wait for it…) Hanwell! Well, maybe not that far west, but, as London goes, quite far, and not exactly known as a hot-bed of speciality coffee.

What had dragged me onto the No 427 bus and out along the Uxbridge Road was the prospect of breakfast (and coffee) at the interestingly-named Fade-to-Black, which, since February, has been serving espresso using Ozone’s Empire Blend to the fine folks of Hanwell, with tentative plans to add a single-origin batch-brew. This is backed up with a decent breakfast/lunch menu, complete with sandwiches and a good range of cake.

Fade to Black has a simple, welcoming interior with windows on two sides and a range of seating, including window-bars, should you want to get some people-watching done. There’s also a spacious basement which, while normally off-limits, is used for functions and events such as yoga.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the corner of Uxbridge and Boston Roads in Hanwell, stands this curious spot...
  • ... seen here looking dead ahead on the corner. While it looks like it may once have been...
  • ... the entrance, the door is actually to the left, on Uxbridge Road. Let's go in.
  • The view from just inside the door.
  • There's a little bit of seating to the left, including a window bar...
  • ... and, tucked in between the window and the counter, this three-person table.
  • Meanwhile, the counter itself, a generous, wooden affair, runs down the left-hand wall.
  • There are two tables in the middle, a square one, and a longer, communal table...
  • ... while at the back there are two two-person tables on the right (one is out of shot)...
  • ... and this two-person table tucked into the corner.
  • Finally, along the two windows on the right-hand side, are two more window-bars.
  • This is the second of the two window-bars, with the window-bars continuing...
  • ... to a final two-person window-bar on the corner by the door.
  • The corner window-bar, with the square table in the foreground.
  • However, there is more to Fade to Black. A steep staircase runs down the back wall...
  • ... depositing you in an interesting basement, where you double back on yourself...
  • ... to reach a large, spacious (and empty) room.
  • There's some natural light down here from a light-well on the Boston Road side.
  • Looking the other way at the basement room, which is used for events.
  • Time to go back upstairs.
  • Obligatory lighting shot: despite having plenty of windows, there are lots of lights too.
  • Not everywhere in Fade to Black has power outlets, but the window-bars are a good bet.
  • On the back wall, above the stairs, you'll find...
  • ... a retail shelf, plus a schedule of events (held in the basement)...
  • ... while off to the left are a pair of intriguing pieces of art.
  • So, to business. The large counter is on the left, with the espresso machine up front.
  • A large mirror covers most of the wall behind the counter...
  • ... while there are two menu boards off to the left.
  • As well as the food menu, there are plenty of cakes...
  • ... and a fair selection of pastries as well.
  • I was there for breakfast, selecting that old standby, avocado on toast...
  • ... which I paired with a flat white, made with Ozone's Empire Blend.
  • I'll leave you with a shot of my latte art.
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Although I have joked about how far west I’ve come (Woof Coffee in Teddington is actually slightly further west) this is a part of London I’ve not ventured to before, having previously only made it as far as Ealing and the likes of the Electric Coffee Company. Fade to Black occupies a fairly old building on the corner of Uxbridge Road (the main east-west thoroughfare through Hanwell) and Boston Road, which runs off to the south.

Fade to Black is almost square, the shorter side facing onto Uxbridge Road. Meanwhile, the corner, which I suspect was once the door, is cut off at 45⁰ and occupied by a single, square window below a brick arch. The entrance, a recessed door, is to the left, with a large window to the left of that. This takes up the remaining space, stretching from close to the floor up to the ceiling. Meanwhile, a pair of equally tall, large windows line the right-hand (Boston Road) side.

All four windows have window-bars, starting with a four-person window-bar to the left of the door. The other three each have a two-person window-bar, including a delightful one under the arch in the corner.  The counter is along the left-hand wall, set back slightly from the window, which leaves just enough space for a three-person table tucked up against the counter, under the two-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine.

Meanwhile, there are more tables in the rest of the space. An eight-person communal table occupies the centre, with a square, two-person table between it and the corner. At the back, a narrow flight of stairs leads down, right-to-left, along the back wall, while lining the front of the open staircase are a pair of two-person tables. Finally, in the corner on the left, tucked in by a storeroom behind the counter, is another two-person table.

The counter is an equally simple affair, wood-built, with the espresso machine and its solitary grinder facing the window, the rest of the counter facing towards Boston Road. This is lined with cakes and pastries, with the till at the far end. The menus are on the wall to the left/behind the counter, the drinks on one blackboard and the food on another. There are also detailed menus on the tables. Finally, on the wall behind the counter, to the right of the menus, are two large, square mirrors, each made up of a group of nine smaller, square mirrors.

The interior shows traces of multiple previous occupants, with the décor an interesting mix of exposed brick and breezeblock, with snatches of old tiles high up on the walls which were once hidden by false ceilings. There’s plenty of natural light, plus six large, industrial-style lights hanging from the ceiling in two rows down the centre.

I’d come for breakfast, Fade to Black serving an all-day breakfast/lunch menu featuring toast-based items, sandwiches and salads. I went for the old standby of avocado on toast, with some lovely, crunchy, sourdough toast, topped by sliced avocado and a little bit of olive oil. Simple, but very effective.

Similarly with my coffee, I had a flat white from the standard espresso-based menu. This was very fine, Ozone’s Empire Blend going well with the milk, just strong enough for the flavour to come through without dominating.

www.fadetoblack.co +44 (0) 20 8566 0444
Monday 07:30 – 16:30 Roaster Ozone (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:30 – 16:30 Seating Tables, Window-bars
Wednesday 07:30 – 16:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 16:30 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 10th August 2018

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