The bus route I usually take to work has been so plagued by roadworks of late that I often take another one instead, which runs along Aldwych. This is how I noticed Lundenwic, a tiny café near the corner of Drury Lane, which opened last August. Drawn in by the tempting coffee and food menu — and, I admit, the striking design of the takeaway cups — I stopped by to check it out last weekend.
Lundenwic is in the heart of London's theatre district and late lunchtime on a Saturday probably wasn't the ideal time to visit as the pre-matinée and specialty-coffee-loving customers made it quite tricky to get a seat. Still, I managed to nab a stool at the back, next to the carefully curated selection of design and lifestyle magazines. The décor in the café wouldn't be out of place in any of these magazines: stark white walls accented with white tiling, wood and potted succulents.
The coffee is from Workshop and there are usually a couple of filter coffees on offer, but when I was there, they only had one: a Rwandan coffee called Miko. I ordered the Miko brewed through the Aeropress (£3.50) and it was very good indeed: delicate, clean and fruity. As well as the magazines, Lundenwic produce their own one-page guide to some of their favourite food and drink spots in the area, which I enjoyed reading while I waited for my food.
I wanted to try the espresso too, so later on, I ordered a piccolo to go (£2.50). The gorgeous geometric design of the takeaway cups (except the flat white cups) aside, the coffee — a Kivu Belt — was excellent: chocolatey, rich and smooth.
There is also a range of salads, sandwiches and toasties on offer. Unsurprisingly, my first choice was the avocado and chilli on sourdough (£4.50), but they had sold out. Instead, I turned my attention to the toasties, settling on the broccoli, chilli, almond and cheddar toastie (£5), which was unusual, comforting and very tasty.
I don't always have room for a cake or pudding after lunch, which is why I am such a sucker for miniature sweet treats. How could I not order the peanut butter cakie, a brownie bite with a peanut butter and peanut filling? At £1.75 for a small cakie, it was a little overpriced but yummy.
Lundenwic is a welcome addition to a West End neighbourhood that has, until now, been surprisingly lacking in specialty coffee options. They serve great coffee and great food and offer up the perfect selection of reading material. What more could a café-hopper want? NB: they are closed on Sundays.
Lundenwic. 54 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DW (Tube: Temple or Covent Garden). Website. Twitter. M–F: 7–7; Sat: 10–7. Closed Sun.