The very first coffee shop I visited following the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions in England was Notes, Trafalgar Square. I doubt I could have chosen better, to be honest, with Notes’ customary quality shining through. My coffee, a cortado, was served in a glass, while my food came on a proper plate with real cutlery. So, when I was looking for somewhere to have coffee and some food before catching my train on Monday, I immediately thought of Notes at Pancras Square, sandwiched between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. The fact that my train was leaving from Euston, a 15-minute walk away, was entirely secondary in the decision-making process.
King’s Cross was one of three Notes locations that reopened in July and is probably the best suited of all, with a large outdoor seating area. There are changes, obviously, to account for COVID-19, but these are minimal. Online ordering at your table is encouraged, while the upstairs seating area is understandably closed, but otherwise, this is very much like the Notes of old. And, even better, with the area still really, really quiet, sitting out in Pancras Square meant blissful silence. Make the most of it while it lasts!
You can see what else I found after the gallery.
Notes is on the eastern side of Pancras Square, on your right as you approach from the stations. If you’re really lost, look for the London Underground sign on the corner of the building: Notes is directly below that! The building itself is a glass and steel cube, with Notes occupying a long, thin corner unit on the ground floor, its two outside walls made almost entirely of glass. Perhaps of more interest in these days of COVID-19 is the large, outdoor seating area which wraps in an L-shape around Notes. There are around 15 well-spaced tables in all, some out in Pancras Square itself and others in front of Notes under the projecting upper floors of the building.
With Notes’ online ordering system, which I tried out when visiting Trafalgar Square last month, there’s no need to go any further than the outdoor tables. Just find one with a green disc (a recent innovation; either that or I missed it at Trafalgar Square), sit down and place your order on phone, tablet or laptop. The staff with then appear a few minutes later, bearing your order and, unerringly, bringing it to the correct table (a red disc, by the way, means that the staff, who are very efficient, haven’t cleaned the table since the previous customer left).
If you do go inside, Notes will look very familiar, with the long, elegant counter on the left as before. The row of tables in the windows to the right has been thinned out a little: there are now just four two-person tables, whereas before COVID-19, each seated three. Sadly the stairs at the back leading to the mezzanine are off limited for now, but other than the Perspex screens on the counter, there’s very little change.
I sat outside and scanned the QR Code on the notice on my table, which took me straight to Notes’ menu. Ordering was simple, although if you struggle, you can always go inside to order at the counter. Once you’ve decided, you are taken to a checkout page, where you enter your contact details (another COVID-19 precaution) and pay. Then you get an order confirmation page which keeps you updated with your order’s progress (something I’d not noticed before).
There are the usual espresso-based drinks, plus, this being Notes, a wide selection of wine, beer, cider and cocktails. If you’re hungry, you have a choice of bar snacks, small plates and cheese boards. Even better, for the month of August, Notes is participating in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, with the 50% discount to your food automatically applied at checkout.
I ordered various snacks and small plates: Catalan almonds, Spanish olives and baba ganoush. I also ordered an espresso, made with Notes’ current single-origin, the Los Lesquines, a washed coffee from Mercedes in Honduras. I found it to be really rich, with some classic notes, which went really well with the food. I particularly enjoyed the olives, which were fat and juicy, while the baba ganoush was excellent, served with a basket of toasted flat bread, the crunchy toast providing an excellent contrast to the creamy baba ganoush.
December 2020: Notes, King’s Cross was a runner-up for the 2020 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
|ONE PANCRAS SQUARE • LONDON • N1C 4AG|
|https://notescoffee.com||+44 (0) 20 3479 1576|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Notes (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 21:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 21:00||Service||Order at Counter/Order Online|
|Friday||08:00 – 21:00||Payment||Cards Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 20:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||Original: 28th May, 12th July 2015
Update: 3rd August 2020
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