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.
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|
|www.instagram.com/eclectic_coffee||+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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