On my way through London a couple of weeks ago, I caught up with Bermondsey’s resident coffee blogger, Bex, when we had lunch at WatchHouse’s new Roastery & Café, after which I sought out one of Bex’s more recent finds, Lantern Coffee. Located a five-minute stroll away on the other side of the train tracks, Lantern Coffee is a recent addition to Bermondsey’s growing speciality coffee scene, having opened in April 2021. It’s the in-house coffee shop of Little London, a combination, in equal measure, of offices, artists’ studios and flats, arranged around a triangular courtyard. As well as serving the residents, Lantern Coffee is open to the public, with seating in the spacious interior or outside in the sheltered courtyard.
Lantern Coffee offers a concise espresso-based menu from Workshop, with Square Mile on batch-brew, plus plans for a pour-over option in the near future. There’s also tea, soft drinks and hot chocolate from old friends, Kokoa Collection. If you’re hungry, Lantern Coffee offers a small, savoury lunchtime menu with filled croissants, sausage rolls and three bespoke sandwiches, although there are plans to expand the range. There’s also a selection of pastries from The Bread Station, along with various snacks.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Lantern Coffee is on Mill Street, which links Jamaica Road to the Thames, running parallel to the River Neckinger. The area’s steeped in history, having once been part of London’s docks before they moved further downstream in the 1950s. Left behind is a warren of narrow streets and old brick buildings, many of them warehouses which once received cargos of coffee, tea and spices from around the world (for more on the area’s history, see Bex’s post on Lantern Coffee). Although I’d have loved Little London to occupy an old coffee warehouse, the building used to be a biscuit factory. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
Little London is on the right as you head north towards the Thames, with Lantern Coffee at its southern (near) end. The tall, narrow double doors are easily missed, although the A-board helps (and would have drawn me in, had I not already been looking for Lantern Coffee). A long, broad hallway, with a staircase on the right, connects the doors with Lantern Coffee, which is at the far end, occupying a large, irregular space with a relatively low-ceiling. If the air-conditioning ducts are anything to go by, this once had a false ceiling which would have made it even lower.
The counter is at the back on the right, directly opposite the door, with the seating consisting of a few well-spaced tables, although I suspect that once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a few more will appear. For now, two pairs of armchairs occupy the right-hand wall, each pair facing each other across a low coffee table, filling the space between the door and the chiller cabinet which stands up against the counter. Meanwhile, two round, three-person tables form a line just to the left of the door, running front-to-back.
Initially quite narrow, once past the first table, Lantern Coffee opens out to the left. For now, a third of the round tables occupies the middle of this additional space, while at the back, to the left of the counter, a long, tall, eight-person table extends from the back wall. The left-hand end of Lantern Coffee is almost all windows. There’s a three-person bar against the front wall, then comes what is in effect a bay window, formed by three tall, narrow, multipaned windows, each housing an equally tall, narrow glass door. For now, a single, low coffee table occupies this space, surrounded by three armchairs.
The three doors lead to the large, triangular courtyard, Lantern coffee being at the apex. To the left is the office space, to the right, the artists’ studios and directly ahead on the opposite side, the flats. When I was there, nine round, two-person tables occupied the cobblestones at end of the courtyard nearest Lantern Coffee.
To business. You order at the counter, with your coffee brought to your table when it’s ready. Lantern Coffee uses Workshop’s single-origin Snap espresso, which I’d have liked to try. However, having recently had a flat white at WatchHouse, I went for the filter, the El Diamante, a washed coffee from Peru, roasted by Square Mile, which I paired with the last of the almond pastries. This was perfect, by the way, flaky and very tasty, with just the right amount of almond.
My coffee, which came with a glass of water, was served in a carafe, with a tulip-shaped cup on the side, a fresh pot having just brewed on the Moccamaster. The El Diamante turned out to be very fine indeed, a rich, sweet coffee, which matured as it cooled, proving to be just as good when cold.
|8 MILL STREET • LONDON • SE1 2BA|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Workshop (espresso) + Square Mile (batch brew)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Armchairs, Bar; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Cakes, Savouries|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||18th June 2021|
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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