Machine began life as a smart bike shop called Velodro, but has now changed its name and converted its front half into a cafe. It's only a few minutes' walk from my house so I stopped by on Sunday morning on my way to Shoreditch.
The first thing you notice when you walk inside is the funky, cycling-inspired — up-cycled, one might even say — design. You can perch on one of the saddle-topped stools by the window or sit around one of the bespoke coffee tables, which have been salvaged from old bike wheels.
The coffee menu is espresso-based drinks only — sadly, no pourovers or Aeropresses are available at the moment. I ordered a double macchiato (£2.20) and took a seat next to one of the bike-wheel coffee tables while I waited. There were a few sandwiches on offer too, and a selection of cakes; the sea-salted-caramel chocolate tart (£2.20) looked particularly good, but I was trying to save room for lunch.
Compared to many latte-art-topped drinks, my macchiato didn't look that impressive — I had half-expected it would come out with a bike wheel pattern on top — but it was actually rather good. Machine uses Monmouth coffee and although the milk was a little over-heated, the macchiato had a strong, smooth taste. In Bermondsey, where it can be tough to find a great cup of coffee, this was very promising.
The cafe itself is very light and airy and although the people-watching might not be quite up to Shoreditch standards, Machine is a very pleasant place to while away a spare half-hour. And if you're a cyclist, you will probably find it difficult to leave empty-handed: there is plenty of serious cycling kit in the back, and a few cycling-related cards and gifts on sale in the cafe.
Machine. 97 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 4TW (Tube: Borough or Bermondsey). Website. Twitter.