Stoney Point (Mr Wolfe Update)

The logo / name of Stoney Point, written on the black board behind the counter.When is a Coffee Spot Update not a Coffee Spot Update? While it’s a question that probably only I care about, it arises in the case of Stoney Point, tucked away on Brighton’s Montpelier Place. Readers with long memories will recall that this was once home to Mr Wolfe, a delightful coffee shop specialising in homemade cake, which I visited in 2015.

Shortly after my visit, Mr Wolfe’s owner, Travis, returned to Australia, selling the business to the current owner, who, aside from the name change, has kept things much as they were, something I discovered when I finally returned to Brighton at the end of last year.

Like Mr Wolfe, Stoney Point serves a concise espresso-based menu using coffee from veteran roasters, Monmouth. Best of all, it’s kept the friendly, neighbourhood atmosphere that made Mr Wolfe so welcoming. If you’re hungry, there’s a range of cakes, and that’s about it.

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CanDo Coffee, Paddington

An A-board showing two stick figures talking. The first asks "So where do the profits go?" and the second answers "All our profits are spent on training and giving jobs to people that need it!". Underneath it says "100% non-profit coffee project using Monmouth espresso".I first discovered CanDo Coffee in 2014, when it popped up on a canal boat moored outside the rear entrance to London’s Paddington Station. However, that was a short-lived appearance and I heard no more about CanDo Coffee until word reached me that it had returned with a more permanent-looking pitch a little further down the canal in the direction of Paddington Basin.

I popped back to my old haunts a couple of weeks ago to check out old favourite Beany Green and also to track down the new CanDo Coffee. Tucked away on the tow path, it’s a delightful spot with a couple of outside tables, serving excellent Monmouth espresso, with a few treats thrown in for good measure. There’s also a motorised trike on the other side of the canal, but it’s only open from 07:30 – 11:30 on weekdays and I was too late to catch it.

June 2017: CanDo Coffee now uses Electric Coffee Company (and has done for some time, I’ve just been slow on the uptake).

June 2018: The second pitch has migrated eastward to Merchant Square, moprhing into a trailer along the way. It’s also now open until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. You can see what I made of it when I visited in June.

July 2018: Matt, who was running CanDo when I visited in 2016, now has his own set-up in the City, the Lazy Coffee Cart.

July 2019: Sadly CanDo Coffee’s location by the canal is no more, replaced by a pair of Airstreams.

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Exploding Bakery Update

Excellent Espresso in a Glass from the Exploding Bakery, Exeter.To start at the beginning, Exeter’s Exploding Bakery was always one of my favourite places and made a very early appearance on the Coffee Spot, being just the 20th place that I wrote about after I visited in 2012. Back then it was definitely a bakery that served coffee, with a couple of tables and an espresso machine tucked into a busy, thriving bakery, baristas and bakers sharing the space.

When I ran into the guys from the Exploding Bakery at the Caffè Culture Show in 2015, they excitedly told me about all the changes that they had made, leaving me itching for a return. However, Exeter isn’t somewhere that you casually pass by (not if you live in Guildford, anyway), so it wasn’t until January of this year, when I was on my way down to Torquay, that I had the opportunity to pop in and say hello the new-look Exploding Bakery.

September 2016: The Exploding Bakery has expanded once again, taking over the adjacent unit. You can still sit in the bakery and drink your coffee, but you’ll find the counter and most of the seating one door over to the right.

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Wild & Wood, London Wall

A lovely, creamy piccolo in a classic espresso cup, seen from above on an over-sized floral saucer.Wild & Wood is something of a pioneer in London’s speciality coffee scene. When it opened in 2008, the number speciality coffee shops in London could still be counted just using your fingers and toes. It’s also one of the first Coffee Spots I ever wrote about, Wild & Wood having been a regular haunt of mine in the years before I started the Coffee Spot. I also revisited it in April last year.

For seven years, Wild & Wood went about its business in its own uncompromising way from a small shop on New Oxford Street. Then, earlier this year, the building was cleared for redevelopment and Wild & Wood was left homeless, much to the consternation of its many fans and regular customers.

However, this particular story has a happy ending as, at the end of August, Wild & Wood reappeared on London Wall. Those who fear that the move will have ruined Wild & Wood needn’t worry: owners Bozena and Kit have pretty much transplanted Wild & Wood, keeping the same atmosphere and attitude that made it so popular.

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Mr Wolfe

The words Mr Wolfe Cafe in white on black taken from the side of the building.Mr Wolfe is one of those places which is preceded by its reputation. It’s also one of those places where its reputation is far greater than the actual place itself. Not that Mr Wolfe fails to live up to its reputation, far from it. It’s just that Mr Wolfe has such a big (and good) reputation, far in excess of its small physical size.

Tucked away on Montpelier Place on the Hove side of Brighton, it’s on the next street back from the main east-west artery, the Western Road. A stone’s throw from Small Batch Coffee’s lovely Norfolk Square branch, Mr Wolfe is just a little off the beaten track, making it a quiet alternative to many of Brighton’s bustling coffee shops.

This does mean that you have to track it down, but, on the plus side, it means that everyone who comes in really wants to be there, which all contributes to a friendly, neighbourhood atmosphere. It’s like popping around to a mate’s for (really good) coffee and some excellent home-made cake. To push the metaphor a little further, Mr Wolfe’s a mate who’ll also make you sandwiches or poached eggs, plus he’ll do you brunch at the weekend.

July 2015: Mr Wolfe has closed, but has been replaced with Stoney Point, still serving Monmouth Coffee. Thanks to Nick and Mike Stanbridge for the heads up.

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Wild & Wood Coffee: Update

Wild & Wood: genius use of space and an lovely, all wooden interiorSadly, the weekend hasn’t started early: it’s just a Saturday Supplement on a Wednesday… By way of explanation, I have such a backlog of Saturday Spots, plus a few updates (like this one) and my reports from the London Coffee Festival, that I’m running short of Saturdays! So, for the next few weeks, Wednesday is the new Saturday as I attempt to catch up…

Wild & Wood Coffee is one of the first places I covered for the Coffee Spot, a favourite haunt of mine from my pre-Coffee Spot days. Back then, as a regular visitor to the British Museum, I would often break my day with a trip to Wild & Wood for afternoon coffee and cake.

These days, when I head up to London, I’m usually on the prowl for new Coffee Spots and I don’t get much time to visit the British Museum. Indeed, I don’t get a lot of time to check out my favourite Coffee Spots, old or new. So, when I visited the British Museum with a friend a couple of weeks ago and she suggested that we went somewhere nearby for lunch, I jumped at the chance to re-visit Wild & Wood.

October 2015: Wild & Wood closed at the start of July this year as the whole block that Wild & Wood was in is being redeveloped. The good news is that it re-opened at the end of August in a new location on London Wall! See what I found when I went to visit.

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Exploding Bakery

Excellent espresso in a glass from the Exploding Bakery, ExeterExeter’s Exploding Bakery ticks so many boxes. For starters, it’s just outside Exeter Central Station, so it’s excellent when waiting for your train. As the name suggests (“Bakery”, rather than “Exploding”) it’s a bakery, so there’s always fresh, baked-on-the-premises cakes. If you’re after lunch, there’s focaccia, frittata and soup. The range isn’t huge, but the ethos is quality over quantity. Then there’s the coffee, along with tea and hot chocolate (regular and white). Best of all, it’s a real, working bakery which shares the premises with the coffee shop, so you can watch the staff baking their wonderful bread as you drink their coffee and eat their cake.

The Exploding Bakery has come a long way since I first visited it in October 2012. Back then it was definitely a bakery that served coffee, a couple of tables and an espresso machine tucked into a busy, thriving bakery, baristas and bakers sharing the space. These days, it looks and feels much more like a coffee shop, offering a house espresso from Monmouth, with regular guests on the second grinder, plus filter coffee through the V60, again using a range of guest roasters. And, of course, the bakery is still there.

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Wild & Wood Coffee

There are places where I prefer the coffee. There are certainly places with more comfortable seating for someone of my height (and with more seating in general). And there are a host of other things I could go on about, but the fact remains that of the handful of cafés in the vicinity of the British Museum that I regularly visit, I find myself drawn back to Wild & Wood far more frequently than one might imagine.

There is something about Wild & Wood that I find very attractive, but I’m not sure I can easily put my finger on what it is. Partly it is the attitude of the place, a no nonsense, uncompromising adherence to its principles. Partly it is the style, which has been well thought out; the use of wood throughout is very appealing, as well as being in keeping with the name.

In the end, more than most of my favourite places, it comes down to a matter of taste. Give Wild & Wood a go and see what you think.

October 2015: Wild & Wood closed at the start of July this year as the whole block that Wild & Wood was in is being redeveloped. The good news is that it re-opened at the end of August in a new location on London Wall! See what I found when I went to visit.

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