27 July 2012

The Caffeine Chronicles: Brewhouse on York Review

**Update (July 2013): Boo; it seems King's Cross wasn't ready for an independent coffee shop, and the Brewhouse has now been replaced by a bland-looking café/sandwich shop called Caffè Piro.**

I've been working in King's Cross for two-and-a-half years and I commuted from King's Cross to Nowheresville for eighteen months before that. That means I've been waiting for a proper independent coffee house to open in the area for about four years. When Brewhouse on York opened its doors earlier this week, I began to think my wish had finally been granted. I stopped by on what was probably their second or third day and while they were still having a few teething problems, my macchiato was still very good.

Of course, it's easy to produce the best macchiato in King's Cross when you are competing with Nero, Pret, Costa and Starbucks. If I've run out of coffee at work, I tend to default to Pret for proximity, Nero for consistency and the little coffee cart at the St Pancras end of eat.st for the best attempt at a decent macchiato. The Brewhouse is, unsurprisingly, located on York Way, just opposite the station, which means they should get a decent footfall. I hope it doesn't mean they start catering to the masses; we caffeine connoisseurs of King's Cross have a greater need for places like the Brewhouse.

Brewhouse on York: handy for King's Cross station

The interiors are identikit indie espresso bar, if that isn't an oxymoron: wooden floors and bar, neutral walls, industrial lighting, La Marzocco machine. I visited on one of the few recent sunny days and they had opened up the shop front so that you could perch on a stool on the pavement, which would be nice if York Way were a nicer street. There are more stools and places to perch at the back for those days when the weather is less clement. Oh, and unless I've miscalculated based on old Google StreetView images, the Brewhouse used to be an adult bookshop, but in King's Cross, this is hardly unusual.

Inside the Brewhouse

The coffee was, as I mentioned, good. They use the Brighton-based Small Batch Coffee Company, and my macchiato was rich and flavoursome. It was the barista's first day and she was struggling a little with the milk frother--I used to work in a coffee shop so I can sympathise--but her supervisor helped her get it right, chucking away a couple of inappropriately frothed jugfuls before an acceptable batch was produced. I appreciated the perfectionism and I'll definitely be back when they've had a bit more practice. In the meantime, you can also buy sandwiches, pastries and, if you're that way inclined, non-coffee beverages. To be honest, though, this place has been so long coming that it seems silly to order a different drink.

Macchiato at the Brewhouse

Brewhouse on York. 4 York Way, London, N1 (Tube: King's Cross). Twitter.


  1. There's also Sourced at St Pancras and Caravan at Granary Square. At last!

  2. Yes, Caravan is great—I have reviewed that since I wrote this post. I've never tried the coffee at Sourced; is it good?