Greasy spoons are great but sometimes you want a bit of class with your cuppa. Try one of these.
Balham's Milk has built a reputation as one of London's best cafés for both coffee and food. It's got hugely popular brunch and evening menus (Milk Lates) that people travel across town for. Part of the appeal is their style; with whitewashed brickwork, white tiles and stone floors, it's an Instagrammer's wet dream. Tables and seating are minimal yet stylish, the perfect backdrop to your imminently popular buckwheat pancakes brunch photo.
Milk, 20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG
Modern Society, Shoreditch
Modern Society on Redchurch Street is more than just a coffee shop, going so far as to call itself a 'destination'. The interior fits the rest of the street's lifestyle aesthetic, with chequered floor tiling and splashes of oxidised copper green. There's a real sense of luxury here too, thanks to chandeliers, carefully chosen furniture and cutting edge espresso machine, the Modbar on its marble bar top.
Modern Society, 33 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
Ralph Lauren, Regent Street
If you’re into polo and wood panelling then you're going to love the Ralph Lauren coffee bar. Walls are filled with pictures of horses, and polo paraphernalia hangs from the walls. They've named it 'coffee and bar', which is handy if you get too overwhelmed by the equestrian décor and find yourself in need of something stiff. To be honest, this one is less stylish, more styled.
Ralph Lauren Coffee and Bar, 173 Regent Street, W1B 4JQ
Workshop Coffee, Fitzrovia
This Italian-style espresso bar is simply beautiful. Tables and the standing bar are marble topped, which looks stunning against the gold metal detailing. Walls are varying hues of blues and turquoise and the whole place just shimmers. Coffee is excellent too, as you would expect from these guys, their La Marzocco machine gleaming.
Workshop Coffee, 80A Mortimer Street, W1W 7FE
Londoners love the preserved art deco frontage of this famous caff, which has been featured in films including Layer Cake and Brighton Rock. Inside the charm fades a little, and although wall tiles are original, Formica topped tables are obviously not. Still, it earns a place on this list for that spectacular lettering alone.
Regency Café, 17-19 Regency Street SW1P 4BY
Curators Coffee Gallery, Fitzrovia
Another beautiful example of a very modern coffee shop, this gorgeous space will beguile you with flashes of dark purple, copper brewing equipment and dramatic tiling. This second branch is spread over two floors (the first was tiny) and there’s a more relaxed feel, plus of course, excellent coffee. It’s also an art gallery and there's loads of coffee equipment on display because if there's one thing coffee makers like to do, it's show off their tools. Add some angular lamps and hanging succulents and you've got yourself a winner.
Curators Coffee, 51 Margaret Street, W1W 8SG
Saint Espresso, Angel
This is a perfect example of a very modern, stripped back London coffee shop. Clean black lines dominate, with copper accents and exposed brickwork. Copper aeropresses gleam and pendant lights dangle. We love the minimal approach here which still manages to feel warm, in a city with so many stark designs. We can't help thinking, too, that it must be really nice and easy to clean.
Saint Espresso, Angel House, 26 Pentonville Road, N1 9HJ