For the longest time, London Square has just been a large office complex that I walked past on Guildford’s London Road, opposite London Road Station and Guildford High School. Not anymore. While I was flying around the world and swanning off to Manchester and Rome, Surrey Hills Coffee was busy opening a new branch, to go with this year’s relocation to Jeffries Passage.
Not that you’d know from walking past on the street. The new Surrey Hills Coffee is in a container-style cabin in the car park, its back to the main entrance, facing the offices. It’s cosy looking, instantly reminding me of the Grindsmith Pod in Manchester, only with fewer windows. There are a couple of tables outside, which will come into their own during the warmer weather, while inside a pair of three-person bars provide the seating. When it comes to coffee, the Holmbury Hill blend is on espresso, plus a range of cakes, snacks and, at lunchtime, soup and sandwiches/toasties. Even better, although the customers are primarily take-away, there are proper cups!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
There’s not much to the new Surrey Hills Coffee at London Square, although small is beautiful, particularly in this case. While Surrey Hills is there at the invitation of London Square, primarily for the benefit of the occupants of the surrounding offices, it is open to public, so you’re welcome to come along. It makes a great spot for quality coffee if you live in the area, or you can pop by on your way to/from the school or station.
The cabin (container? pod?) is a cosy little thing, split in two, with the counter/kitchen on the left and the seating/standing/ordering area on the right, accessible via a handy ramp. Outside, to either side of the broad entrance, are a pair of three-person tables, while if you want to sit inside, there are two three-person bars, one along the back wall and the other on the right-hand wall. The counter, meanwhile, is effectively the left-hand wall, with the kitchen behind it. Although there’s no Wifi, power is provided to both walls if your phone is in need of a top-up!
It gets very busy early in the morning, as people arrive for work, then again at lunchtime when everyone pops in for one of the sandwiches (there were a choice of four when I visited yesterday, two of them vegetarian, with plans for a vegan option in the near future) or a cup of soup (two options, both made on site, and both vegetarian during my visit). For the rest of the day, it’s quieter, which makes it the ideal time to drop in, say hello and stop for coffee and a cake.
At Monika’s suggestion, I tried an oat milk flat white, the milk (from Oatly) going really well with the coffee, making for a rich, creamy and sweet flat white. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my cow’s milk just yet, but this made for a really great non-dairy alternative. I paired this with a chocolate orange brownie, a lovely, rich and very chocolately concoction which was the perfect late-morning pick me up.
I was back a few days later for a swift lunchtime espresso, the Holmbury Hill blend going down as well as ever. I also had a cheese and leek toastie which was excellent, the bread lovely and crunchy. I’ve never really thought of cheese and leek as a combination, but they go really well together!
Surrey Hills opened at the start of November, initially on a year-long lease, although I’m hoping that it will be around for a lot longer than that, since it would be lovely to have some top-notch coffee in the area. Do drop in if you can: Monika and the team would love to see you!
December 2018: Surrey Hills Coffee, London Square was a runner-up for the 2018 Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
March 2020: with the closure of the London Square offices at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coffee pod has also closed.
January 2021: the coffee pod has closed for good, at least in its current form, as Chris and Monika of Surrey Hills Coffee have decided to focus on the roastery side of the business.
June 2022: Canopy Coffee has taken over the coffee pod, reopening at the start of the month.
|LONDON SQUARE • CROSS LANES • GUILDFORD • GU1 1UN|
|https://surreyhillscoffee.co.uk||+44 (0)7951 203640|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Surrey Hills Coffee (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Sandwiches, Soup, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Chain||Local||Visits||20th, 22nd November 2018|
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