A legendary name in London speciality coffee circles, The Espresso Room had already achieved this lofty status when I started the Coffee Spot 10 years ago. 2016 brought a change of ownership and expansion, first by bringing the likes of New Row Coffee under The Espresso Room brand, followed by opening new locations. This, however, is the Great Ormond Street original, opposite the famous Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
The Espresso Room is well-named, since there’s not much to it, just a room with enough space to make espresso (and batch brew filter). There’s a bespoke espresso blend from old friends The Roasting Party, with a single-origin on filter, while if you’re hungry, The Espresso Room has a selection of cakes and pastries. If you’re staying, there are three benches outside, but be aware, The Espresso Room only serves in disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Espresso Room cuts a surprisingly dashing figure, its green façade, encompassing a single glass-paned door, with a window to the left, standing out in brick terrace on the south side of the Great Ormond Street. The door and window, by the way, mark the full width of The Espresso Room, which goes back maybe twice as far inside, although it is considerably taller than it is wide, which contributes to an unexpected feeling of space.
The counter occupies almost the entire left-hand half of The Espresso Room. It’s set back slightly from the window, which, in pre-pandemic times, housed a bench, although even that was pushing it, given the lack of room. If you do plan on staying to enjoy your coffee, there is some outside seating available. This too has changed over the years, at various times having consisted of folding green chairs/tables and, before that, wooden box benches.
Recently, these have made way for three benches, two on the right, with three low, round black coffee tables, while there’s a solitary bench and coffee table on the left. The two benches on the right occupy the space where The Espresso Room’s outdoor seating has always been, just to the right of the door, under a window whose sill is pleasingly lined with window boxes.
Before the pandemic, there was also seating directly under The Espresso Room’s window, but this has been moved further from the door, its place taken by the A-board. Instead, the third bench (which is easily missed) now sits under someone’s window to the left of a blue door, itself to the left of The Espresso Room.
To order, head inside, where there’s just enough space (effectively the width of the door) to shuffle down past the cakes and pastries displayed at the front of the counter. You’ll find the till, where you order, pay for and collect your coffee, in the middle, next to the espresso machine. Transaction complete, shuffle back out to make way for the next customer.
I popped in for an oat milk flat white in my HuskeeCup, although I was tempted by the Ethiopian single-origin on batch brew. The seasonal house espresso, made with a blend of beans from Colombia, Brazil and El Salvador, is from old friends The Roasting Party, and went really well with the oat milk (from Oatly). The resulting flat white was rich, smooth and creamy, the coffee’s classic chocolate and nut notes going well with the slight oat flavour of the Oatly, which, if anything, only enhanced the overall taste.
|31-35 GREAT ORMOND STREET • LONDON • WC1N 3HZ|
|http://theespressoroom.london||+44 (0) 203 633 4777|
|Monday||08:00 – 12:00 / 12:30 – 16:00||Roaster||The Roasting Party (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 12:00 / 12:30 – 16:00||Seating||Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 12:00 / 12:30 – 16:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 12:00 / 12:30 – 16:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 12:00 / 12:30 – 16:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Chain||Local||Visits||28th February 2022|
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