29 July 2015

The Caffeine Chronicles: London Velo

When a fun cocktail bar—the Job Centresprung up on Deptford High Street last year, I knew it would only be a matter of time before third-wave coffee weaved its way into SE8. London Velo opened at the end of May and I had been meaning to stop by, so I was grateful for the reminder in this week's Time Out, which dropped in the G-word but had nothing but praise for the new café and bike shop.

London Velo serves coffee, bagels, sandwiches and salads by day, but there are also cocktails, including the LV espresso martini, for the evening crowd (it's open until 10 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). The weather was atrocious on Sunday morning—it was pretty chilly and pouring with rain—but London Velo was still pleasingly bustling when I arrived.

The décor is Scandi-minimalist, with plenty of light wooden furniture with pink and grey accents (disclaimer: pink and grey is one of my favourite colour combos; my outfit even matched that day). There are plenty of tables and the café is refreshingly spacious. The one slight mis-step is that the wooden bench that lines one wall is too high for the tables, but I didn't mind moving round to the pink chair to eat my food.

There aren't any hand-brewed filter coffee options on the menu, so I ordered a flat white (£2.40) and then considered the breakfast menu. The LV breakfast (£7.50), which has all of my favourite things (salmon, egg, avo, spinach, tomato and toast) and none of my least favourites (mushrooms), sounded great, but I also knew the bagels were sourced from Brick Lane, so I ordered the bacon and avocado bagel (£5) instead. In a world of sourdough and rye, bagels feel almost retro, but I'm not complaining.

I was given a numbered bike gear to identify my table and went to take a seat. Meanwhile, the dog-in-residence, Maurice, came to say hello.

The coffee is independently sourced—at the moment, they are using Union's Bright Note blend, which I've tried before and which is sweet and nutty and works very well as a flat white. My drink was smooth, rich and tasty. The bagel was great too—it almost felt like I had been whisked away to New York—and came with a generous helping of avocado, back bacon and a side of rocket. Delicious enough to feel like a treat, but healthy enough that I didn't feel too sinful.

There is a bike mechanic and a bike shop at the back of the café and there's also a small art gallery downstairs (the info isn't currently on the London Velo site, but there are some details about the current exhibition here).

London Velo is a great addition to the often sparsely populated south-east London coffee map, and does a great job of covering the four Cs: coffee, cycling, culture and community. If you're in the SE8 area, you should drop by!

London Velo. 18 Deptford High Street, Deptford, London, SE8 4AF (Deptford Bridge DLR, or Deptford or New Cross rail). Website. Twitter.

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