Four Corners, tucked away on Lower Marsh behind Waterloo Station, is one of the stalwarts of London’s speciality coffee scene, opening in July 2013, with my first visit coming a month later. Like many others (Canopy Coffee and Party on Pavilion, for example), COVID-19 has forced Four Corners to convert itself from a bustling, lively, sit-in coffee shop to a takeout operation. The area has also seen a significant drop-off in foot traffic, so much so that Four Corners only reopened two weeks ago, although hopefully the part-pedestrianisation of Lower Marsh will help bring people back to the area. It’s certainly changed the character of the street for the better.
For now, Four Corners is only offering a takeaway service, which means disposable cups, although the staff happily accept customers’ reusable cups. The full coffee menu is available, with Ozone’s Empire Blend on espresso, along with pour-over via the V60 and Chemex. There’s also tea from T2, while Four Corners has a limited food menu. Best of all, if you want to sit outside once you’ve got your coffee, Four Corners has taken advantage of the pedestrianisation of Lower Marsh by putting some benches and two tables out front.
You can see what else has changed after the gallery.
The first thing you should notice, however you approach Four Corners (I came from Waterloo Road), is the part-pedestrianisation of Lower Marsh. From 11:00 – 15:00, it’s closed to traffic, which, if I’m honest, is a vast improvement. Although brought in to help businesses recover from COVID-19, I hope it becomes a permanent feature.
Four Corners cuts a familiar figure on the south side of Lower Marsh, with its green façade, although an obvious difference since I last visited is the outdoor seating in front of the two windows to the right of the door. A pair of short benches face a two-person bench in front of the first window, while you’ll find a pair of two-person tables in front of the other. Although it doesn’t completely compensate for the loss of the inside seating, I enjoyed sitting out on the pavement with my coffee and would love it if it was retained once the interior reopens.
Talking of which, even if you’re sitting outside, you’ll need to go inside to order. Here the changes are more dramatic, although the counter is there, dominating the space from its position set slightly back from the windows on the right-hand side. However, that’s about the only thing that hasn’t changed, with all the seating being stripped out.
Instead, a temporary counter faces you as you enter, blocking off access to what was the bulk of the seating to the left of the counter. Meanwhile, to the right, the remaining seating that used to occupy the windows and the front of the counter, is also gone, the space being made available for customers to queue for their coffee.
Talking of which, Ozone’s Empire Blend is still the mainstay of the espresso-based menu, backed up by pour-over through V60 and Chemex (the barista told me that a few regulars still order their customary pour-over). However, Four Corners is operating a cutdown food menu, with granola, bagels (with various fillings) and cakes.
I was pleased to see that, despite everything, the standards of service hadn’t slipped. While only serving in disposable cups, Four Corners is happy to accept customers’ own reusable cups, and, if you’re sitting outside, your coffee/food is brought to you (more correctly, it’s handed to you through one of the two open windows, an even better solution which maintains social distancing).
I had a flat white, which was lovely, the classic notes of the Empire Blend going particularly well with the milk, while the latte art held its shape all the way to the bottom of my HuskeeCup. I paired this with an avocado bagel for lunch, which was every bit as good. If you’re in the area, do pop in and show Four Corners some love.
|12 LOWER MARSH • LONDON • SE1 7RJ|
|www.four-corners-cafe.com||+44 (0)208 617 9591|
|Monday||08:30 – 15:00||Roaster||Ozone (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 15:00||Seating||Tables, Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 15:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 15:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 15:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 16th August 2013
Update: 24th August 2020
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