12 August 2013

The Caffeine Chronicles: Notes at Tileyard Review

Update: Notes' Tileyard Studios branch is closed, but you can visit their other branches in King's Cross and Trafalgar Square.

King's Cross is full of surprises. I suppose it always has been, but now they tend to be good surprises. Since the sad demise of the Brewhouse on York, I've been at a bit of a coffee loose end in N1, because I can't go to Caravan every day, more's the pity. But when I visited Notes in Covent Garden a few months ago, I discovered that they had a north London outpost. I was put off by the N7 postcode, but it turned out to be only a ten-minute walk up York Way from my office. You can get the 390 bus on York Way, outside King's Cross station, but it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes. Just go past Grauniad Towers...

And past the long disused York Road Tube station...

Then turn right when you get the 'Apothecary' sign on Vale Royal. You may think you're going the wrong way, but if you persist, you'll reach Tileyard Studios — a "music and media hub." This means you overhear conversations like, "We've got Paul Young and Nik Kershaw," while you sip your coffee.

You can sit inside — the design is pretty similar to the two central London branches of Notes — but on both of my visits, it has been gloriously sunny, so I've sat out on the lovely terrace. What with the showbiz types and the sunshine, you can almost imagine you're in LA. Well, this summer, anyway.

Notes Coffee's Tileyard outpost, near King's Cross.

As with the other Notes cafés, there is a selection of sandwiches, salads and frittatas if you need more sustenance than a coffee. And judging by their Twitter feed, they sometimes do burgers. Last time, I ate the chicken, bacon and cranberry baguette, which was great and very filling.

On both occasions, I ordered my usual double skinny macchiato, and it was good. A little on the milky side for my liking, but rich and smooth, like at its sister cafés. The intense midday sunshine on both of my visits did, however, make my coffee photography a little tricky. It's a small sacrifice for a lunchtime that transports you far away from darkest not-even-really-King's-Cross.

Double skinny macchiato at Notes.

Notes. 6A Tileyard Studios, London, N7 9AH (Tube: King's Cross or Caledonian Road & Barnsburg Overground). Website. Twitter.


  1. Anonymous15:51

    regular visitor to Notes at Tileyard and despite several changes of staff, the coffee is pretty good imo but Starbucks is my thing......

  2. There aren't a lot of places to grab a good coffee near King's Cross, and Notes is definitely a 'hidden gem' so I'm a fan!

  3. Anonymous16:28

    Notes tries to give a personal service to regulars - using first name terms and decorating the top of your coffee with great pictures - the whole music thing seems to be taking off there - only downside is that seats are a premium......today was standing room only unless you fancied the 'outside area........

  4. Anonymous13:04

    2013 update : Notes has been taken over and is now called Vinyl.......same coffee but nicer food and staff....

  5. Really? That's interesting. I've always found the food to be good and the staff to be friendly. Is it just the Tileyard branch that's been taken over? I was in the Covent Garden one at the weekend and it was still Notes.

  6. Anonymous13:58

    I believe it is only this one, there is a recording studio above that is now running it. Old staff were fine, but new crew very friendly and making an effort - lets hope that lasts. New chef new ideas...

  7. Interesting. I look forward to checking it out!

  8. Anonymous14:20

    wait till the nicer weather - Notes has a roastery stationed there that supplies the other cafes and barrows.......

    Happy New Year to you and all of yours.....

  9. Thank you. You too!