The speciality coffee scene in and around Earl’s Court and Hammersmith has really taken off in the last few years, led by the likes of Over Under Coffee, with the original opposite Earl’s Court station and its shoebox-sized addition at West Brompton. Pretty much slap bang between the two is Black Rabbit Speciality Coffee, a relatively new addition to the area, which opened last year.
Occupying a sunny corner on the north side of Old Brompton Road, it’s a small, but charming spot, flooded with light from large windows along the front and left-hand sides. If you don’t mind the traffic, you can sit outside at one of two pavement tables, or you can retreat inside, where there’s a similar number of tables, plus a couple of window-bars.
The coffee is from old friends Allpress, with the standard Allpress blend, plus decaf, on espresso, while there’s a regularly-changing guest roaster on batch-brew. Although it’s small, that doesn’t limit Black Rabbit’s ambition, with a decent selection of cake on the counter, plus impressive breakfast, brunch, sandwich, salad and wrap menus. If you’re wondering how the staff manage it, there’s a kitchen tucked away in the basement (but, alas, no seating).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Black Rabbit Speciality Coffee is on the north side of Old Brompton Road, on the corner with Kramer Mews and opposite Brompton Cemetery. If you come out of the door and turn right, you’ll pass, in swift succession, West Brompton station and then, Over Under Coffee. If you go the other way, then turn left onto Earl’s Court Road, you’ll find the original Over Under Coffee opposite Earl’s Court station. I wish I’d been this spoiled for choice when I used to commute to the area for work over 20 years ago…
Black Rabbit is a small, compact spot, right on the corner. Nearly cube-shaped, the door is in a 45° cut-out on the corner itself. To its left, on the quieter Kramer Mews, is a large, single-paned window running all the way to the back wall and stretching almost from pavement to ceiling. Meanwhile, to the right, on the busier Old Brompton Road, is a slightly wider, three-paned window, with two round, two person tables, partially sheltered by a retractable awning. Fittingly, given the name, the colour scheme is predominantly black, although the pavement tables are disappointingly white…
Inside, the layout is simple. The counter is at the back, running close to the width of the back wall, with the drinks menu on the wall behind it. A four-person window-bar with low stools occupies the front of Black Rabbit, offering the same views as the outside tables and benefiting from the same shade offered by the awning, but without the traffic noise. Between the window and the counter are three square, two-person tables with the same low stools, which can be pushed together to provide seating for four or six.
Finally, on the left-hand side, an open staircase leads from the back of Black Rabbit down in front of the window to the basement. Against the railings, offering a view across the top of the stairs and out onto Kramer Mews, is a two-person bar, a shorter version of the one at the front.
Turning to the coffee, there’s a fairly standard espresso-based menu, plus hot chocolate, various lattes, smoothies and a selection of tea. The batch-brew filter comes from whoever is the current guest roaster, which changes every two to three weeks, depending on how quickly Black Rabbit gets through the coffee.
During my visit, old friend, Strangers Coffee from Norwich, had its Ethiopian Rocko Mountain on batch brew. Sadly, it had just run out and, since it was the end of the day, it would have been wasteful to make a full batch just for me, but had there been any left, I would been in there like a shot!
Instead, I had a decaf flat white, which had been my initial choice before I saw the Strangers on batch brew. I paired this with a slice of the blackberry shortbread crumble, which was lovely, a base of crisp shortbread, topped by a rich, sweet crumble, a layer of blackberry jam sandwiched in between. Simply divine! My flat white, meanwhile, was smooth, rich and well-balanced, the Allpress decaf going really well with the milk. And, given that I still had a visit to Queens of Mayfair to fit in that day, in hindsight, decaf was by far the better choice!
December 2020: Black Rabbit Speciality Coffee was a runner-up for the 2020 Best Flat White Award.
|308 OLD BROMPTON ROAD • EARL’S COURT • LONDON • SW5 9JF|
|Monday||07:30 – 16:00||Roaster||Allpress (espresso) + Guest (batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 16:00||Seating||Window-bar, Tables; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 16:00||Payment||Card Only (COVID-19)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||09:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||20th October 2020|
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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