Today we start a new series for our London larder. Over the next few weeks, join us as we go in search of the quintessential grocery store and discover what are the essential ingredients of this great British institution.
It’s easy to miss. So restrained is its shopfront that it pales against the lights of mega-hyped Covent Garden. However, seek inside FREUD and what you’ll find is iconic design. Created over 20 years ago by David Freud, the inspiration for the original café bar came from stories told to him by his father of European coffee houses and its culture of art and conversation. Shaftesbury Avenue thus became a place for life to inspire design and vice-versa.
This original concept continues today with a design store and a cafe bar below street-level. Upstairs is the showcase for FREUD’S in-house design of classic tableware and glass ware. Of this covetable range is glassware inspired by last century ocean liners, tea balls that recall the lines of art deco, and espresso stovetops that celebrate deco’s unmistakeable use of chrome and bakelite. In this, its ideal setting – an art deco building, nothing competes or distracts from the design itself.
Downstairs in the cellar is its celebrated bar. During the day, it offers a café menu; a night, cocktails. More speak-easy than city chic, its nocturnal incarnation offers an easy ambiance that makes for the perfect and celebratory end to this FREUD experience.
Location: 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JL. Tel. 020 7831 1071
Well, it has been an exciting few weeks ... walking, exploring, sipping, indulging, and occasionally suffering from caffeine overload to collate this new entry for the London Larder. And so a quick re-listing of London's breed of coffee roasters and in no particular order:
Have I missed anyone? Who would you include in your London Larder? Let me know.
The name says it all – simple, uncomplicated, basic. With a focus on quality and a commitment to getting back to the basics, Nude Expresso has been sourcing, roasting and blending from small farms since 2008. Coffee is aged 7-10 days post-roasting before it is delivered, allowing each roast to fully develop its flavour. Winner of Independent Café of the year in 2010 and 2013 by the Café Society, its Brick Lane and Soho sites offer “New Zealand ingenuity and a large dash of East End playfulness”. In other words, expect an approach to food that is seasonal, home grown, without pretension, and you won’t be disappointed. Try Roaster's Choice from head roaster, Richard Williams (he will select the best on offer when you order) or Nude's current seasonal single origin espresso, El Salvador Finca La Reforma, prized for its jam-like flavour. Drop into its roastery during the week to experience the full Monty at the old cooperage yard of the Truman Brewery, just off Brick Lane.
Location: Roastery @ 91-95 Brick Lane, E1 6SB; Café at Brick Lane 26 Hanbury Street E1 6QR Tel. 07712 899 335 and 19 Soho Square. W1D 3QN Tel. 07712 899 336
Subscription: 3-6-12 month subscriptions are on offer.
For 15 years from its home in East London Union Hand-Roasted Coffee has dedicated itself to the art of sourcing and roasting Arabica coffee. Working directly with coffee cooperatives and farms, its aim has always been to forge sustainable relationships with the communities it works with. From such a true union of producer and roaster comes some of London’s most unique-tasting single estate coffees and blends. Coffee is roasted daily in small batches and supplied to names such as Gail’s Bakery, Canteen, as well as more local cafes such as Battersea’s Coffee Affair. A full subscription service is available online. So try their latest seasonal offering Equinox, a blend from small holders from Fincas EI Diamante and EI Argentina in EI Salvador, from Homacho Waeno Sidamo in Ethiopia and Fazendas Bobolink, Brazil. Or for a unique single estate, Cocagi from the cooperative Gashonga a micro-lot in Rwanda. As one of London’s early coffee pioneers, its code of practice for ethic sourcing, fair and direct trade is more than admirable.
Location: Wholesaler only but with a subscription service Go to (http://www.unionroasted.com/)
Subscription: Whether it’s an annual, monthly subscription or a daily grind (porlex mini mill hand grinder, hario V60 ceramic dripper and latte mug), Union offers a comprehensive range of subscriptions and gifts.