04 September 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Saint Espresso, Baker Street

In the five years since I moved from Marylebone to Bermondsey, my former neighbourhood has seen only a slow influx of speciality coffee shops. Before I left, there wasn't much: the excellent Workshop Coffee (then named The Sensory Lab and located on Wigmore Street) and the Borough Barista were about the only options. Seymour Street's Daisy Green and Monocle Cafe on Chiltern Street are among the new additions, but these are both south of the dividing line that is the Marylebone Road.

Although I no longer live there, I welcomed the news that one of my favourite Islington coffee shops, Saint Espresso, had opened a branch on Baker Street. The coffee shop is on the northern section of Baker Street, next to Baker Street Tube station and just opposite Sherlock Holmes' place. It would have been so convenient for my old flat, which is just five minutes' walk away. Now, I tend to return to northern Marylebone primarily to catch the coach back to Oxford or to get my nails done at California Nail Bar (I'm a creature of habit but it's good and cheap). I was doing the latter a few Sundays ago but decided to stop by Saint Espresso first.

The Baker Street coffee bar is smaller than its Islington sibling but just as sleek. (My review of the photogenic Islington coffee bar often features in my 'popular this month' section because some of my photos therein seem to have been pinned extensively on Pinterest.) With its black tiled exterior, sexy black espresso machine and dark wood counter, it's an attractive spot. There are a couple of small tables on the pavement, although sitting there may designate you as the official tourist information officer. Inside, the remaining seats line up along the narrow table that runs the length of the shop's front window.

I was in the market for a black coffee so I asked what coffees were on offer as a pourover. They had both a natural Ethiopian Guji Hambela and a washed Kenyan Marimira AA, but the barista recommended the Kenyan for a V60, so I went for that (£3.50). The coffee menu also included the usual espresso-based drinks, and various cold and iced coffees. There was also a big selection of pastries, cakes and sandwiches available.

My coffee was very well prepared and the lovely, fruity berry notes of the Marimara came through very nicely.

As in the Angel branch, there is a great selection of coffee kit for sale, and bags of Saint Espresso coffee beans to buy; there was also a guest coffee from Round Hill Roastery near Bath. It was relatively quiet on an overcast Sunday afternoon, although I'm sure it's elbow-room only during the weekday commuter peak. Very handy for anyone travelling to or from Baker Street or Marylebone stations, Saint Espresso is a great addition to a part of Marylebone that is by no means overwhelmed with speciality coffee shops.

Saint Espresso. 214 Baker St, Marylebone, London, NW1 5RT (Tube: Baker Street). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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