The Eclectic Collection

A classic flat white with some lovely latte art, served in a classic black cup at The Eclectic Collection.Earlsfield is blessed when it comes to speciality coffee shops. Last week I wrote about Bean & Hop and, while some places would be satisfied with that, it’s not enough for Earlsfield which has today’s Coffee Spot, The Eclectic Collection, literally across the road. Opening in March 2018 with the aim of providing something different from the typical speciality coffee shop, The Eclectic Collection was initially just a café. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 saw the front part of The Eclectic Collection morph into a high quality delicatessen, something which has proved so popular that it’s here to stay.

These days, The Eclectic Collection is a delicatessen, a coffee shop serving an all-day brunch menu and, for two nights a week (Thursday, Friday), a restaurant with a blind menu. Serving coffee from Berlin’s The Barn certainly helps it stand out from the crowd, but perhaps the most notable thing about The Eclectic Collection are the multiple seating areas at the back, decorated in perhaps the most eclectic fashion that I’ve ever seen in a coffee shop, with colourful wallpaper, various statues, chairs which stubbornly refuse to match each other and a whole lot more besides!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Garratt Lane in Earlsfield, it's The Eclectic Collection. Not to be confused with...
  • ... this one, on the other side of the road (coming soon), which will be a non-food store.
  • Back to The Eclectic Collection, which has the door on the left and seating in front...
  • ... of the windows to the right. There are six two-person tables in all, in two rows of three.
  • Talking of the windows, these house the brunch menu...
  • ... the made-to-order sandwich menu...
  • ... and the evening menu (Thursday and Friday only). But how do you get all these?
  • I'm glad you asked, since the A-board has the answers. Let's go in.
  • The view from just inside the door, where The Eclectic Collection looks like a delicatessen.
  • The counter is on the right, set back from the door.
  • Meanwhile, to the right of the door, there is a table laden with pastries and cakes.
  • The table is definitely worth a closer look!
  • Between the windows and the counter comes shelves of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, etc.
  • Then there's the front of the counter itself, where you'll find the bread.
  • You pay and order coffee to go at the counter. Note the Black Eagle espresso machine...
  • ... and the bags of coffee from The Barn. Maybe this isn't just a delicatessen after all!
  • Returning to the delicatessen side of things, starting at the door, there are shelves...
  • ... and chiller cabinets stuffed with produce of various kinds. I see eggs, for example.
  • The chiller cabinets stretch off along the left-hand wall. There are cooked meats...
  • ... and fresh vegetables just to name a few.
  • At the far end is the pasta selection.
  • Turning the corner and carrying along the back wall, there's cheese...
  • ... and above that, the first hint of the eclectic nature of The Eclectic Collection.
  • Check out the awesome light fitting (one of two in the front) and the luggage behind it.
  • However, there's more. Beneath an invitation to misbehave, an opening in the back wall...
  • ... leads to three interconnected spaces at the back of The Eclectic Collection.
  • The first one, on the left, is long and thin, with lovely floorboards (like the front part).
  • There are three tables in here, the first by this sofa...
  • ... the second, with the interesting high chair, by the mirror...
  • ... and the third, with the low armchairs, at the back by an opening in the wall.
  • The view, looking back from beside the third table.
  • The opening looks into the second of the two spaces, which is off to the right.
  • This too is long and thin, maybe half the width of the one on the left.
  • It's very different in character from the first space, with its glass roof and colourful decor.
  • This is the view from the other end. There are six tables in all, three on each side.
  • Note that none of the tables have matching chairs.
  • This, however, is the best chair in the whole place. No prizes for guessing where I sat!
  • There are some other neat features in here, like these balance scales...
  • ... and this window decoration.
  • There's also another invitation to misbehave...
  • ... and some very colourful wallpaper with parrots and lemurs.
  • At the end, a couple of steps lead up to the third and final space at the back.
  • Three tables line up next to a bench along the wall.
  • This is perhaps a better shot, taken from the other side of the room.
  • Carrying on arround, there's a single table along the back wall...
  • ... and three more along the wall to the left. Carrying on, here's the view from...
  • ... the opposite corner from where we came in. The other opening leads to the first space.
  • Another view of the table against the back wall, along with its interesting chairs.
  • That's not all that's of interest. There's an aircraft tailplane on the right-hand wall...
  • Meanwhile, in the corner, this lamp could have come from an operating theatre.
  • The corner at the other end of the tailplane is rather religious...
  • ... while in another corner, someone's doing a headstand.
  • Meanwhile, this fellow is keeping an eye on things.
  • There are more mirrors back here, including round ones...
  • ... and tall, thin ones.
  • However, that's enough for now. Let's go back through the first space...
  • ... and into the front of The Eclectic Collection to order.
  • I'm going to leave you with my flat white, served in a classic black cup...
  • ... which had some lovely latte art...
  • ... that lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup!
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A three-minute stroll from Earlsfield Station, heading south along Garratt Lane, brings you to The Eclectic Collection, almost directly opposite Bean & Hop on the left-hand side of the street. Its striking white façade stands out, with the door on the left and a small seating area in front of the windows to the right. There are six fold-up two-person tables in two rows of three, each chair with a large rug slung over it to guard against any chilly weather, while a roll-out black and white awning provides shelter from both sun and rain.

Inside is what looks like a classic delicatessen. A large counter, set well back from the window, dominates on the right, with the remaining walls occupied by shelves and chiller cabinets displaying bread, cheese, pastries, vegetables, pasta and plenty of other things besides. Then there’s the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine on the counter, with two Mahlkönig grinders thrown in for good measure. So not quite a classic delicatessen.

However, that’s only the start of the fun. A narrow doorway on the left in the back wall leads to three interconnected spaces, two long parallel ones, with a third at the back running the width of The Eclectic Collection. You start in the left-most of the two parallel spaces, which was, I suspect, a long extension at the back of the building, while the space to its right was once an open passage between it and the boundary wall, now covered with a conservatory-style sloping glass roof. Both these lead, via two steps up, to the final space at the back, which was perhaps the back yard, now similarly covered with a sloping glass roof.

It’s these three spaces where The Eclectic Collection lives up to its name, although there are hints in the delicatessen, with its ornate light fittings, displays of old packing cases and balustraded counter. I’ve been into a few eclectic coffee shops in my time, such as Bristol’s Wild At Heart Emporium, Brighton’s The Marwood (now both sadly closed) and Curio Espresso and Vintage Design in Kanazawa, but none of them really comes close to The Eclectic Collection.

The left-hand space is the most understated (least overstated?), with its bare floorboards, clean, white walls and three tables down the right-hand side. An opening to the right leads to the second space, which is maybe half the width, with six two-person tables in two rows of three, one on either side. All have round, marble-topped tables, but not a single pair of matching chairs. The whitewashed brick wall has two openings (old windows) which look through to the other space, while the right-hand wall is papered with parrots and lemurs.

The back room has to be seen to be believed, with a wooden bench running along the back wall and extending down either side. There are eight of the round, marble-topped tables, three down either side, one on the back wall, with the eighth between the openings from the other two spaces. The furnishings come from the personal collection of the owner’s brother, who has added items during The Eclectic Collection’s three years. Various other pieces have moved on in that time, including a much-loved unicorn that stood at the back of delicatessen.

Turning to the coffee, The Eclectic Collection uses The Barn’s seasonal espresso, currently the Vista Hermosa from Guatemala, offering a standard espresso-based menu to go with a very temping all-day brunch, plus made-to-order sandwiches and various cakes and pastries. Then, on Thursday and Friday evenings, there’s a bar snacks menu, plus a three-course blind dinner menu, which must be reserved in advance.

My only regret was that, having had brunch at Bean & Hop, I didn’t manage to try the brunch menu. To console myself, I had a flat white with some lovely, long-lasting latte art. Served in a classic black cup, milk and coffee were in perfect harmony, the coffee coming strongly through the rich, creamy milk, resulting in one of the best flat whites I’ve had in a long time.

December 2021: The Eclectic Collection was a runner-up for the 2021 Best Physical Space Award.

575 GARRATT LANE • LONDON • SW18 4ST +44 (0) 20 8265 2007
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster The Barn (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 22:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 22:30 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 12th October 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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