10 August 2013

The Caffeine Chronicles: A Long Overdue Espresso Room Review

I discovered The Espresso Room, tucked away in plain sight on an interesting stretch of Great Ormond Street, soon after starting to work in King's Cross, a good three-and-a-half years ago. It came top in my first round-up of London's independent espresso bars, and second in last year's list, and receives regular mentions on this blog. It is perhaps odd, then, that I've never given it a full write-up. And of late, I've been neglecting The Espresso Room, partly because I've been so busy at work and it's a bit of a jaunt from the office, partly because of the appalling winter, and partly because of my discovery of Prufrock and the arrival of Caravan.

Anyway, when I saw on Twitter that it was The Espresso Room's fourth birthday yesterday, it was the perfect impetus for me to return. I even still had a loyalty card with only one missing stamp! When I arrived, the festivities were in full swing: there were colourful balloons outside the usually unassuming store front, and the promise of tiramis├╣ and beer later on.

The Espresso Room, one of my favourite London coffee bars.

The Espresso Room is tiny. It really is just a room, and not a very big room—more of a large cupboard really—with just a couple of seats inside and a few more benches on the pavement when the weather is sufficiently clement. The staff are always friendly and cheerful, although it's usually not to go in during the lunchtime rush if you want coffee, soup, a blondie and a bag of coffee beans that you want grinding. I used to always get my ground coffee there (bring back Finca La Fany!), but now that I have my own grinder, Monmouth and Caravan are both more convenient.

A double macchiato is £2.60, which is at the pricier end of the double-mac spectrum, but the coffee is excellent. Plus, you get to say when on the milk front, which is always a winner in my book.

Double macchiato from The Espresso Room

Food-wise, there is usually a soup of the day, served with bread, and a few different posh sarnies and cakes. As I'm fussy about sandwiches, it was always a bit hit and miss as it whether I'd find something to my liking, but the cakes are always good.

It wouldn't be a birthday without presents, except I gave The Espresso Room the gift of the mark-up on a KeepCup. I've been thinking of getting an 8oz one for a while, for those days when I need to take my Aeropress brew for a walk, but baulked at the online cost of £13.70, including delivery. Luckily, The Espresso Room had the colourway I wanted ('twilight' from the Cosmic Sky series) for only £8. Bargain.

Happy birthday, Espresso Room! I promise I'll stop by more regularly in future.

The Espresso Room. 31–35 Great Ormond Street, London, WC1N 3HZ (Tube: Russell Square). Website. Twitter.

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