The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a country-wide closure of coffee shops this spring, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of brave entrepreneurs from opening new coffee shops. Chief amongst these are siblings Grace and Victoria, who had originally planned to open Queens of Mayfair, their high-end coffee shop located, appropriated enough, in Mayfair, back in March 2020. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t happen, but despite the COVID-19 setback, they carried on, with Queens opening in August instead.
Queens is an upscale venue, offering table service, a brunch menu until 3:30 pm and a “nibbles” menu in the evening. There’s cake, of course, plus hot chocolate, tea and a fully-stocked bar offering cocktails and other delights. However, it was the coffee that made the headlines, even catching the interest of the mainstream press. The reason? The UK’s most expensive cup of coffee, coming in at £50 a serving!
This is something so special that it has a Saturday Supplement all of its own. In the meantime, this Coffee Spot focuses on Queens as a coffee shop, where you can order from the more affordable espresso-based menu, based around a Brazilian Daterra, roasted for Queens by Difference Coffee.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
To my great delight, not only is Queens of Mayfair right in the heart of Mayfair, it’s also on Queen Street. Standing about halfway along, on the western side of the street, it has a fairly modest façade, the central door flanked by two tall, square-paned bay windows. Despite its unassuming nature, the quality of the fit-out is readily apparent even from the street, where there is a single table in front of the left-hand window. This is clearly no hipster joint, with exposed brick walls and chipboard counters.
This impression is confirmed as you step inside, where you will be greeted by someone to take your order (for takeaway) or to show you to your seat. Talking of which, Queens has a pair of small window-bars flank the door at the front, with the bulk of the seating is at the back, beyond the counter.
This glorious affair, in green and gold, is on the left-hand side and goes (like Queens itself) a long way back. Opposite is a set of retail shelves, then a long, gold-topped bar, which runs down the right-hand wall. Split in two, the first section has four, low-backed tall chairs, while the second section, which ends in a short L, has three.
Queens narrows at this point, with the toilet on the right and an oval table against a padded sofa bench on the left, just beyond the end of the counter. Finally, it widens out at the back for the last of the seating. Padded sofa benches line both walls, with three tables on the right (two two-person tables and a four-person one) and two on the left (four-person plus two-person) although I suspect that both of the four-person table can be split to accommodate smaller groups.
The only natural light is from the windows at front, while Queens is long and thin, perhaps going back to a depth fives times its width. Despite this, and the fact that I visited late in the afternoon, with the light fading, it was never dim, even right at the back.
I’d spent the day in Hammersmith/Earl’s Court, visiting the likes of Black Rabbit and Over Under Coffee, before heading over to Queens. As a result, I missed out on brunch, which is served until 15:30 (along with a slightly expanded brunch menu at the weekend). I did, however, arrive just in time for the evening nibbles menu, which offers variations on cheese on toast (I’d had a cheese toastie at Carbon Kopi), several sharing boards (I was on my own) and a variety of bread baskets. I went for the simplest of these, bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which was divine.
However, the real draw was the coffee. I really wanted to try one of the pour-over options and, ideally, for the purposes of this write-up, I would have liked to try the espresso-based menu as well, but I was already highly-caffeinated from the day’s previous visits. Fortunately, the incomparable Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato had beaten me to Queens by a good couple of months, visiting shortly after it opened for brunch and a flat white, so I will refer you to her excellent write-up if you want to know about the espresso-based coffee (and the food).
Queens had two pour-over options during my visit, the headline-grabbing £50 Cup of Excellence from Ethiopia and a £20 Geisha from Panama. I skipped the Cup of Excellence, deciding to save that treat until COVID-19 is over and Amanda can visit again (plus it should be booked 24 hours in advance to guarantee availability) and went instead for the Geisha. However, if you want to know what I made of that, you need to check out the Saturday Supplement, all about my Coffee Experience at Queens…
December 2020: Queens of Mayfair was a runner-up for the 2020 Best Physical Space Award.
|17 QUEEN STREET • MAYFAIR • LONDON • W1J 5PH|
|www.queensofmayfair.com||+44 (0) 20 7459 4617|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:30||Roaster||Difference (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:30||Seating||Tables, Bar; Table (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Nibbles, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 20:30||Service||Table|
|Friday||07:30 – 20:30||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||10:30 – 19:30||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||10:30 – 16:30||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||20th October 2020|
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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