03 March 2014

The Caffeine Chronicles: B Street Deli

Bermondsey Street isn't exactly lacking in lovely destinations, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for one more. B Street Deli, for example, which opened a little while back towards the north end of the street, just up from Casse-Croƻte. It used to be a flower shop and in fact they still sell a colourful selection of flowers, herbs and shrubs, which brighten up the front window.

B Street combines New York-style casual all-day dining with continental European ambiance. They sell and serve locally sourced food and drink, including cheese, bread, charcuterie and antipasti. Depending on the time of day, you can also stop by for a coffee, light meal or drink. When I bought a new plant there on Saturday afternoon, I noticed that they served V60 pourover coffee — two varieties, no less — and decided to give breakfast a go yesterday morning. Bermondsey Street is only a ten-minute walk from my flat and it felt decadent and New Yorky to go out for breakfast so close to home.

Inside, there is a long deli counter, which displays the many tempting wares; ten or so stools perch at a high table that runs the length of the opposite wall. It's quite dark inside — partly due to the dark walls, which are decorated with exotic produce sacks — but cosy, and if you are lucky you can grab a seat by the window and enjoy the many people-watching opportunities Bermondsey Street has to offer.

The coffee comes from South London roastery Volcano, which I sampled most recently at Drink, Shop & Dash, and for the pourover, I had to choose between a Costa Rican Tarrazu and a Gashonga from Rwanda. I feel a certain affinity towards Costa Rican coffee after my trip last year, but this time, the bourbon and honey notes in the Gashonga won me over and soon I was decanting my coffee (£3.20) into my mug. The coffee was slightly tangy, but strong flavoursome; I think I'll have to add Gashonga to my mental list of good varieties to order.

As for breakfast, the menu isn't huge at the moment, but I was very pleased with my boiled eggs and soldiers (£3.95). The toast was thick and crusty and although the soldiers were too big to dip into the eggs without further pruning, I had no complaints about the quantity or quality of either the bread or the eggs. They also serve toast with jam and granola with yoghurt, as well as a selection of breads, pastries and, if you're feeling particularly naughty, cakes.

Bermondsey Street can get very busy, especially on weekday evenings and Saturdays from brunchtime onwards, but yesterday morning, the deli had a calm, relaxed vibe, with a regular stream of customers but no crowds. I would be very happy sitting there sipping a Jensen's Bermondsey Gin and tonic of an evening, but I suspect seating may well be at a premium. Nonetheless, I am pleased to be able to add a low-key but well-thought-out local eatery to my repertoire.

B Street Deli. 88 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB (Tube: London Bridge). Website. Twitter.

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