Once upon a time, one of my regular coffee haunts when visiting the British Museum was Wild & Wood on New Oxford Street. Sadly, the building was closed for redevelopment in 2015, necessitating a relocation to London Wall, where it’s still going strong. For a long time, the site stood empty, but now the redevelopment is finally complete, and, occupying roughly the same spot as Wild & Wood, is a new coffee shop.
Opening at the start of last month, the new coffee shop is none other than the ninth branch of south London coffee juggernauts, The Gentlemen Baristas. The coffee offering is very similar to the other Gentlemen Baristas locations, with the Deerstalker blend and a single-origin on espresso, pulled on a Faema E71 espresso machine, joined by a single-origin on batch-brew, with plans for a pour-over option via the Kalita Wave. All the coffee is roasted in-house and available in retail bags. If you’re hungry, there’s soup, sandwiches and a selection of cakes and pastries, all served in an interesting, idiosyncratic space.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Gentlemen Baristas’ predecessor, Wild & Wood, was renowned for its interesting space, a small nook off the main room, all beautifully kitted out in reclaimed wood. Arguably, The Gentlemen Baristas has an even more awkward space, only slightly larger than Wild & Wood, with an open, central space and a tall, narrow corridor offering more seating, ending in a cosy corner.
The front of The Gentlemen Baristas consists of a series of windows of ever-decreasing size. The largest, with a long, low bench in front of it, is to the right, looking into the main space, accessed by a recessed door on the left. This is a wonderful, open, high-ceilinged spot, almost cube-shaped, with the counter at the back, while the only seating is provided by a four-person window-bar to the door’s right.
There is, however, more seating to the left, a narrow corridor leading along the front of the store to the second window, this one with a three-person window-bar. Keep going a little further and you’ll arrived at the third and final space, which has two small, narrow windows and two sofa-like seats, a two-person one, its back against the front wall, and the second, seating one, at the end, against the left-hand wall, the two together forming a cosy little nook.
The Gentlemen Baristas is still finding its feet in Holborn, so the coffee offering is currently evolving. The Deerstalker blend (El Salvador, Brazil and Sumatra) was joined by Top Hat (La Bastilla, a Nicaraguan single-origin) during my visit, while if you want filter coffee, there’s a daily single-origin (drawn from The Gentlemen Baristas’ range) on batch brew, with plans to add a pour-over option using the Kalita Wave in the next week or two.
I was drawn to the Top Hat, ordering a flat white, which arrived with some awesome latte art, courtesy of Ernie, my barista, a regular UK Latte Art competitor. My flat white was as good as the latte art, smooth and sweet, the coffee and milk in perfect harmony, with the superbly-steamed milk holding the pattern to the bottom of the cup. Truly impressive!
|1 NEW OXFORD STREET • HOLBORN • LONDON • WC1A 1NU|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:30||Roaster||Gentlemen Baristas (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:30||Seating||Window Bars, Sofas; Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:30||Food||Soup, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||2nd December 2019|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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