Part of the growing London alternative movement serving up Square Mile coffee, Store Street Espresso should be on anyone’s Central London go-to list for consistently excellent cuppas and a decent selection of sandwiches and pastries in a lovely, well-thought out space.
SSE excels at attention to detail, whether it’s the immaculately poured flat whites, the unexpected raisins in the rich, fudgy brownies (utterly more-ish) or the thin lime slices in the glasses of water. This is equally true of the café itself. It’s minimalist yet warm and welcoming: white walls and concrete floor offset by metal lamps, wooden tables and benches, a book swap and a selection of quirky, contemporary art lining the walls, all lit by natural light streaming in through the glass atrium-like ceilings.
A mix of Motown and indie/hipster music plays in the background, but not so loud that conversation or reading becomes impossible. And on the extremely rare occasion during busy hours when they did forget an order (for about 40 minutes or so), the staff were very apologetic and promptly served it up free of charge.
A short jaunt from Tottenham Court Road, the British Museum or a few Bloomsbury universities, SSE is a great place to have lunch, read a book, get some work done or meet up for a chat. And enjoy the well-crafted coffee, obviously.
We also suggest taking a bit of time to check out the ink drawing of what seems to be an intricate catacomb of umbrellas and birdhouses. Despite the steady stream of customers, it’s usually possible to snag a table here. Don’t forget to swipe a card at the register and have it stamped — your eighth hot drink is free.
Store St. Espresso, 40 Store Street, London WC1E 7DB. Follow on Twitter. Opening hours: 8am – 7pm, Mon – Fri; 9am – 7pm, Sat. Closed Sun.
By Yin Leow