30 August 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Sans Pere

Update (August 2018): Sans Pere has now permanently closed.

Is it a coffee shop? Is it a patisserie? Is it a lifestyle boutique? How about an estate agency? If you're at Sans Pere in Shoreditch, then it's all four, among diverse other identities. Named for owner Barney Goff's late father, Sans Pere occupies a bright, airy space on the corner of Old Street and Great Eastern Street and it's a welcome addition to the area.

There is a seating area on the broad pavement, under a canopy of large umbrellas, which is a great spot for people-watching on warmer days. Inside, you first reach the 'home' section, which includes homewares for sale (I liked the colourful cups and stacks of notepaper), homemade food to consume, and, in the back, the estate agency, which looks much like the rest of the space. With high ceilings and light interiors accented by cheery pops of colour and some very cool, oversized pendant lamps, it's a lovely space.

Over to the left, the cafĂ© section serves up espresso-based drinks, hand- and batch-brewed filter coffee, non-coffee lattes (matcha, beetroot and turmeric) and various breakfast and all-day food options. The breakfast menu — including eggs and soldiers, and avocado toast — and the post-noon selection of salads, tartines and daily specials also sounded delicious. I had already eaten but it didn't take much to persuade me to order one of the delicious choux pastry bites on display on the counter (£2). The only problem was deciding which flavour to order; I went for the chocolate popping candy pastry (because of course) but the hazelnut and the caramel–vanilla both sounded fab too.

They had an Origin Los Altos coffee from Nicaragua in the hopper and I ordered a piccolo (£2.80). The trend for charging the same price for all white coffees seems to be growing, which is great for latte and flat-white lovers, although less good for us piccolo/macchiato aficionados, sadly. Nonetheless, my piccolo was well prepared and the chocolatey notes of the coffee came through very nicely.

The coffee also paired nicely with the chocolate popping candy pastry, which was a delicious sensory journey with the smooth, rich filling contrasting perfectly with the popping sensation. I probably could have managed another one (or two), but it's good to have something to look forward to for the next visit.

The staff were all really friendly and it was a wonderfully calm but cool place to relax with a coffee, sweet treat or light meal. Just be aware that with all the beautiful goods in the 'shop' section and a small but well-curated selection of retail bags of coffee beans from Origin, Assembly and Colonna, it may be difficult to leave Sans Pere empty-handed.

Sans Pere. 84 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL (Tube: Old Street). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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