The Beehive, like yesterday’s Saturday Short, Second Shot, is a social enterprise, albeit of a slightly different character. Part of the Bethnal Green Mission Church, it opened in July 2018, occupying part of the ground floor of the same building as the church, at the northern end of Paradise Gardens on the busy Cambridge Heath Road. There’s some outdoor seating in the garden, while inside you have the choice of the busy upstairs or the clean lines of the basement, where you’ll also find The Beehive’s book exchange.
The coffee offering is fairly simple, with The Baron from Climpson and Sons, plus Climpson’s seasonal decaf on espresso, all served from a fairly standard menu. This is joined by a single-origin on batch brew (currently a Rwandan), chosen from Climpson’s seasonal range and changed every few months when Climpson and Sons release its new coffees. There’s also a small selection of tea, plus concise breakfast (until 11:30), lunch (11:30 to 16:00) and toast (until 16:00) menus, each with three or four choices. This is backed up by a wide selection of cake, much of it homemade. For example, one of the cakes I had was made by the pastor’s wife!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Beehive is at the northern end of the long, thin Paradise Gardens in Bethnal Green, just up the road from the tube station and around the corner from Second Shot. There is outdoor seating at the top end of the park on a broad, tarmacked area in front of the coffee shop, with three deck chairs next to a flowerbed to the left and two picnic tables to the right.
The Beehive is directly ahead of you, at the front, right-hand corner of the building, with a door on the left. This leads into a simple, rectangular space, with tall, thin windows, two close-spaced ones along the front to the right of the door and two more down the right-hand side. This runs along Cambridge Heath Road, the space maybe twice as long as it is wide. At the far end, a door in the middle of the back wall leads into a central corridor running across the middle of the building. To the right, at the end of the corridor, double doors lead out onto Cambridge Heath Road, providing an alternate entrance to The Beehive.
the layout is simple. An open counter runs along the left-hand wall, the two-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine against the back wall at the far end. Meanwhile the cakes and till are near the front. The seating is in an L-shape, running from immediately to the right of the door, along the front two windows, then along a bench to the right. There’s a table in each window (each broad windowsill doubling as a seat), with four two-person tables running along the bench. This is against a metal bannister which lines the stairs to the basement. These start in the back corner (to the right of the door at the back) and descend below the windows before taking a right-angled turn six steps from the bottom, depositing you in a white-walled, wood-floored, rectangular basement filled with additional seating, along with some bookshelves along the left-hand wall.
There’s a three-person table at the bottom of the stairs against the front wall, with a six-person table in the middle of the room. If you fancy something more relaxing, a cluster of three low, comfy chairs cluster around a coffee table next to the stairs, while at the back, there’s another low coffee table, this time with a pair of the same low-slung chairs.
I visited twice, first at the end of a long day on Saturday, when I had a very fine decaf flat white, the coffee and milk going very well together, with the milk holding the latte art right to the bottom of the cup. I paired this with a pear, walnut and ginger tray bake which was lovely: a moist cake with large chunks of pear, plenty of walnuts and a subtle ginger flavour.
I returned the following day for more coffee and cake. This time I had The Baron, Climpson and Sons‘ single-origin Brazilian espresso, which was excellent, a well-balanced and well-rounded shot. I paired it with a slice of the plum and Earl Grey loaf. Once again, my cake was wonderfully moist, topped with a subtle layer of plum jam.
Thanks, by the way, to the excellent staff who looked after me so well, including India (both days), Richard (Saturday) and Bron (Sunday).
December 2019: The Beehive was a runner-up for the 2019 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
|305 CAMBRIDGE HEATH ROAD • BETHNAL GREEN • LONDON • E2 9LH|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:30||Roaster||Climpson & Son (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:30||Seating||Tables; Tables & Deckchairs (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:30||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:30 – 17:30||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||13:00 – 17:30||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||25th, 26th May 2019|
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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