18 July 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Velasquez and Van Wezel

Today's Caffeine Chronicles review features a London coffee shop whose name has a prodigious Scrabble score: Velasquez and Van Wezel in lovely, leafy Crouch End. As regular readers will be aware, I venture north of King's Cross much more rarely than I ought, but a good friend moved up to N8 a few months ago and I was long overdue a visit. I decided to arrive early on Saturday to check out a couple of speciality coffee spots first and Velasquez and Van Wezel was first on my list.

The Colombian Velasquez and the Dutch Van Wezel opened their titular coffee bar in September 2016. It occupies a light and bright space on Park Road, the northwestern 'arm' of the X that forms the centre of Crouch End. The coffee bar fits in very well on Park Road, which has numerous independent shops, bars and restaurants. It's a very pleasant place for a stroll, in other words.

Inside Velasquez and Van Wezel, there are a handful of small tables and a raised bar with perching stools in the window. The colour scheme is light and natural, with pops of mint green — most notably on the gorgeous custom Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine that sits on the tiled counter. There are a few further tables on the pavement, which afford some excellent Crouch End people-watching opportunities.

The espresso is from Square Mile, while various guest coffees make appearances as batch-brew and hand-brewed filter coffees. I couldn't resist the opportunity to try coffee from a new-to-me Amsterdam roaster, Lot Sixty One, and ordered the Finca Toño Costa Rican coffee brewed through the V60 (they also serve Aeropress-brewed coffee), which was £3.50. The coffee was fruity and juicy, and I tasted some nice berry notes. It was very well brewed and I finished it all too quickly.

For round two, I opted for a cortado (£2.30), which was made with Square Mile's Redbrick blend. My cortado was very well prepared, with a smooth, well-balanced flavour and latte art that lasted all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

Although I arrived slightly after the end of brunch hours (3 pm), Martin and Oscar were happy to prepare me an avocado on toast (£7.50). Served with a side of watercress, the avocado toast tasted great and filled me up just enough for a very late lunch. If you do miss brunch, they also have some delicious-looking cakes and sandwiches available.

I had hoped to return on Sunday morning with my friends for breakfast but we had other plans, so I'll just have to make my way back up north London again soon. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, the coffee impeccable and the café a beautiful and calming place to hang out. I think the autocorrect function on my phone has even finally managed to learn how to spell both Velasquez and Van Wezel!

Velasquez and Van Wezel. 78 Park Road, Crouch End, London, N8 8JQ (Tube: Highgate). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

1 comment:

  1. North London really is a foreign country as far as I'm concerned! I really must get up there more often as there seem to be some lovely coffee shops springing up!


    PS Awesome espresso machine!