Chief Coffee (COVID-19)

The front window of Chief Coffee celebrating the opening of the Japanese games arcade on the top floor. These days there’s plenty of good coffee to be had in the neighbourhood, but when Chief Coffee opened in Chiswick back in 2015, it was something of a pioneer, joining the nearby Artisan in bringing speciality coffee to this part of West London. As well as the coffee, however, Chief Coffee also made its name with its pinball lounge, something which makes it stand out from the crowd to this day (the only other speciality coffee and pinball place I am aware of is Birmingham’s Tilt).

As I write, Chief Coffee is restricted to just its outdoor seating, which, in the sheltered Turnham Green Terrace Mews, is a delight. However, as of Monday next week (17th May) it will be re-opening both the first-floor seating area and the ground floor pinball lounge. And, even better, there’s a new Japanese arcade games room on the top floor that will be opening for the very first time!

The coffee is unchanged throughout, with Allpress’s signature blend on espresso, plus a regularly changing pair of contrasting single-origins from Workshop on pour-over through the Kalita Wave. This is backed up by a small selection of tea, plus sandwiches, savouries and cakes if you’re hungry.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Turnham Green Terrace Mews off Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick...
  • ... and there, at the back, is Chief Coffee.
  • A better view of Chief Coffee, which occupies the white building on the left-hand corner...
  • ... which is cut off at 45°. There are a pair of tables at the front, flanking the window.
  • One of the tables, along with a low, wooden bench.
  • The corner in more detail, with stairs leading to the first floor entrance.
  • Chief Coffee continues around the corner...
  • ... where you'll find find another pair of tables flanking the back door.
  • One of the tables in more detail.
  • The Mews also continues, with a line of six benches down the middle.
  • The view towards the front of the Mews from beside Chief Coffee's back door.
  • This back door to be precise. You can enter here, but instead...
  • ... let's go back to the front...
  • ... where the window is proudly announcing the opening of the arcade room upstairs.
  • Whether you go in front or back, you have to climb a set of stairs...
  • ... so let's go up the front ones.
  • A view of the tables from halfway up the stairs.
  • Some plain instructions (and consequences) on the door.
  • A view of the first floor from just inside the door...
  • ... where you'll find the counter at the back on the right.
  • The seating, meanwhile, is off to the right and will be off-limits until Monday.
  • Continuing around, here's the view back towards the door.
  • The sign on the back wall suggests that there's more to Chief Coffee than meets the eye.
  • The sign points down, but the stairs at the back go both up and down.
  • Let's go up first.
  • The stairs double back on themselves, leading to this small landing...
  • On Monday, these doors to the Japanese arcade games room will open for the first time!
  • For now, let's go back down, where you can see this stone inset in a window sill.
  • Carrying on down the stairs...
  • ... brings you to the back door...
  • ... where the stairs continue down to a ground floor/semi-basement...
  • ... which is home to the pinball lounge!
  • The machines all look a bit sad right now, because they're switched off...
  • ... but come Monday, they'll be back on, light's flashing and everything!
  • There's even a little bit of seating down here.
  • Time to go back upstairs...
  • ... which brings us back to the back door again, seen from the outside this time.
  • You can come in this way, and, ascending the stairs...
  • ... you'll come out to find the counter directly ahead of you.
  • The cakes and pastries are on the left...
  • ... with the (much depleted) savouries in the middle.
  • One of several neat shelves on the wall behind the counter...
  • ... which is also where you'll find the menu.
  • The La Marzocco FB80 espresso machine is to the right, facing the front of Chief Coffee...
  • ... while right in front of you, as you order, is the Kalita Wave pour-over station.
  • The coffee is from Allpress (espresso) and Workshop (pour-over).
  • There are two pour-over options. While I was there, it was the Yolanda Cabrera...
  • ... and my choice, the Mahembe.
  • My coffee, served in the carafe, with a cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray.
  • And with the coffee in the cup.
  • I also had the last mushroom and spinach roll for a late lunch.
  • I'll leave you with one last view of my coffee.
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Chief Coffee is just a couple of minutes’ walk along Turnham Green Terrace from Turnham Green tube station. Although a fairly busy road, Chief Coffee inhabits an oasis of calm towards the back of Turnham Green Terrace Mews, which leads off to the left about halfway down as you head south from the station. Although you can see Chief Coffee from the road and there’s an A-board at the entrance to the Mews, it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

Walking up the Mews, Chief Coffee is directly ahead of you, occupying a hundred-year-old building standing on the corner. A pair of tables, each with a low bench and a pair of fold-up chairs, flank a window, while to the left, Chief Coffee has a cut-off corner at 45°. This is where you’ll find the first-floor door, a solid staircase ascending the wall to reach it.

The Mews continues around to the left in a dog-leg, which brings you to the back of Chief Coffee. You’ll find another pair of tables here, this time with just two chairs each, flanking the back door. It’s even quieter here and, in the afternoon, shadier, while if the tables are taken, six low benches run down the centre of the Mews, flanked by some more modern apartments and offices. Although technically not part of Chief Coffee, I can’t see why you shouldn’t sit on one of the benches to enjoy your coffee.

Returning to the front, the main staircase leads to the front door, which brings you into a space that will, come Monday, once again be the beating heart of Chief Coffee, with the counter at the back on the right. For now, however, the seating is off limits, although you still order here, after which, take a seat outside and your coffee will be brought to you.

You can either return the way you came, or, more sensibly, turn left where a flight of stairs leads down along the back wall. This delivers you to the back door, although the stairs continue down, where you’ll find the toilet on the left and the pinball lounge on the right. This too is off-limits for now, but come Monday, the lights will be on and the pinball machines flashing and beeping away.

That’s not all, though. Returning upstairs (or going up for the first time if you entered via the back door), you appear at the back of Chief Coffee, the counter directly ahead of you. The stairs, however, continue up, doubling back on themselves to your right. At the top is a small landing, a door leading to the top-floor room, full of Japanese arcade games. This is a new addition to Chief Coffee, opening for the first time on Monday, 17th May.

Turning to the coffee, the ubiquitous Allpress blend is on an espresso-based menu offering the usual options. However, my eye was drawn to the Kalita Wave filters on counter, where Chief Coffee offers a pair of contrasting single-origins from Workshop, which change every week or two. My choices were the Yolanda Cabrera from Peru or the Mahembe from Rwanda.

I suspect that I would have been happy with either, but went for the Mahembe, which was served in the carafe, with a cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray. This was a lovely coffee, quite subtle, but sweet and just as good cold as it was hot. I paired this with a late lunch of the last of the mushroom and spinach rolls, served warm with a small side salad and just as good.

Monday 08:00 – 16:30 Roaster Allpress (espresso) + Workshop (filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:30 Seating Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:30 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 16:30 Payment Cards Only
Saturday 09:00 – 16:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:30 Power N/A
Chain No Visits 10th May 2021

You can see what fellow coffee blogger Double Skinny Macchiato made of Chief Coffee when Bex visited in July 2022.

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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