Sometimes I plan my accommodation with great care, picking places on their proximity to outstanding coffee. On other occasions, I just get lucky, which was the case when I stayed in Canary Wharf for work. I selected the Novotel (technically on the Isle of Dogs, not Canary Wharf) because it was under 10 minutes’ walk from the office and conveniently placed for the likes of Taylor Street Baristas and Notes, which I already knew about and planned on visiting en route to/from the office.
What I hadn’t realised was that Canary Coffee, a speciality coffee shop serving Climpson and Sons, was an integral part of the hotel. This meant I could start my day with some excellent coffee before leaving for the office (and didn’t have to get up 20 minutes early to make it myself) while also rounding my day off with top-notch coffee, particularly since it’s open until 10pm every evening.
However, Canary Coffee isn’t just for hotel guests. Rather, it’s a fully-fledged coffee shop, accessible from the street. A cosy spot, complete with outside terrace, it morphs into a wine bar in the evening (still serving coffee). There’s a selection of cakes, toasted sandwiches and some excellent pizza.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Novotel, a modern high-rise tower, opened in 2017 on the corner of Marsh Wall as it runs south of Canary Wharf, with Canary Coffee an integral part of the hotel, occupying a simple rectangular space at the left-hand end of the hotel’s ground floor. To the left of that is a concrete terrace, set back from the road and overlooking Manilla Street, a quiet lane which runs behind the hotel, making it a good option. There’s a handful of tables out here, a mix of high, cocktail tables and more conventional square four-person ones.
Canary Coffee has two entrances. The first is from the street via the terrace, where two sets of double doors give access through the glass wall along the left-hand side of the coffee shop. The second entrance is opposite them, providing access from the hotel, where you’ll find Canary Coffee at the far end of the corridor leading to the elevators. The space, which has the potential to be rather sterile, has been cleverly split into multiple sections, each of which offers something different. The result is a very welcoming interior.
The counter occupies the back right corner, leaving an L-shaped seating area. The bottom of the L, with its wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, faces Marsh Wall, while the left-hand side, which runs along the terrace, is also regularly punctuated by floor-to-ceiling windows. Finally, there are more floor-to-ceiling windows at the top of the L, looking out over Manilla Street.
A long, wide pillar runs along the bottom of the L, effectively splitting the space into two. At the front, in the main windows on the right, is a six-person communal table, beloved of laptop users (me included). Opposite this, against the pillar itself, are a pair of armchairs, flanking a coffee table. Meanwhile, a pair of three-person sofas face each other across a coffee table in the windows on the left. Beyond the sofas, along the left-hand wall, are the two sets of glass doors which lead onto the terrace, separated by a three-person bar with high bar chairs. Opposite this, there’s a three-person table against the left-hand side of the pillar.
The remaining seating is at the top of the L, opposite the counter, which is separated from the seating area by a pair of low bookcases. Here you’ll find another pair of armchairs on the right, while along the left-hand side are two more armchairs, just beyond the second set of doors. Finally, against the left-hand window is a long, three-person sofa in the top of the L.
The entrance from the hotel is on the right-hand side, depositing you just in front of counter, where you’ll find the till and some cakes on the corner, with the espresso machine, a two-group La Marzocco Linea, off to the right. The rest of the counter, which runs all the way to the back, is given over to food, including fruit, lots more cake and pizza.
I started several of my days here, ordering a flat white to go in my HuskeeCup, made with a Brazilian single-origin espresso from Climpson and Sons. This had classic chocolate notes and went really well in milk, but is pretty good on its own, as I discovered in the evenings, when I’d call in for an espresso or flat white before going up to my room. I also sampled several of the cakes, which were all excellent, plus a couple of the pizzas which were even better. Finally, I had mozzarella, tomato and pesto flat bread for my breakfast on my last morning, which rounded things off perfectly.
December 2019: Canary Coffee was a runner-up for the 2019 Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
|40 MARSH WALL • ISLE OF DOGS • LONDON • E14 9TP|
|www.facebook.com/canarycoffeeUK||+44 (0) 20 3530 0580|
|Monday||08:00 – 22:00||Roaster||Climpson & Sons (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 22:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 22:00||Food||Breakfast, Sandwiches, Cake, Pizza|
|Thursday||08:00 – 22:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 22:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 22:00||Wifi||Free (with registration)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 22:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||20th – 25th May 2019|
If you 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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