06 October 2014

The Caffeine Chronicles: WatchHouse, Bermondsey

There's another new coffee shop on the block: the block being Bermondsey Street and the coffee shop being WatchHouse. I missed this year's Bermondsey Street Festival where WatchHouse launched, so instead, I went to test out the macchiato last weekend, which was their first full weekend. It was, of course, insanely busy — the queue was out of the door while the staff made valiant efforts to serve the under-caffeinated crowds. My macchiato was very slightly disappointing, more so because the tiny cafĂ©, which is on the corner of Bermondsey Street and Long Lane, was beautifully and thoughtfully designed.

I went back yesterday morning and the queue was much more under control and the coffee was hugely better. As they don't serve Aeropress or pourover coffees, I ordered a macchiato (£2), which arrived promptly. The Ozone coffee was rich, smooth and very tasty.

I also treated myself to a raspberry pastel de nata (£1.50), whose pink colouring coordinated nicely with the little gold-vased posies that adorned each table. As well as pastries, St John doughnuts and other sweet snacks, WatchHouse serves soups, sandwiches and a few breakfast/brunch dishes. A lot of the food is supplied by local food producers, which is always nice (although not that difficult when you are based in foodie-haven Bermondsey).

The staff were friendly and attentive, and WatchHouse is a really nice addition to Bermondsey Street. As I mentioned earlier, it's also a beautiful space. The unusual, octagonal building is located within the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen (on the site of the old Bermondsey Abbey) and seems to take its name from the guards who, in the 19th century, would keep an eye out for would-be body-snatchers hoping to raid the graveyard. The building has been empty for a while and the owners have done a lovely job renovating it with its rustic stone walls, black-and-white-tiled floors, and gorgeous, colourful art on the walls.

Even the bread and other produce is arranged like some kind of beautiful, edible infographic. The Guardian would definitely approve.

WatchHouse Coffee. 199 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 (Tube: Borough or Bermondsey). Website. Twitter. Instagram

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