09 October 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: The Penny Drop, London

The London offshoot of Melbourne speciality coffee shop The Penny Drop opened a few months ago but because it's closed at the weekends, it has been difficult for me to visit. Taking advantage of a rare day off in London on Friday, I finally put this to rights and dropped by The Penny Drop's London home on Tottenham Street in Fitzrovia. Tottenham Street is a bustling side street off the Tottenham Court Road and the café is just around the block from Goodge Street Tube station. There's scaffolding on several buildings on the block at the moment, making The Penny Drop a little tricky to spot. It is, however, well worth seeking out.

The café has a simple, minimalist design that harks back to the original in Melbourne's Box Hill neighbourhood. There's plenty of light wooden tables and walls, fresh flowers on the tables, a marble counter-top, and a cute white La Marzocco customised with The Penny Drop's signature copper, sans serif branding (also seen in the adorable stamp card, pictured above)). It wasn't too busy late on a Friday lunchtime, although there was a steady stream of customers.

On the coffee menu, you will find the usual espresso-based drinks (including long blacks, of course) and they also serve batch-brew filter (£2.50) or Aeropress- or V60-brewed filter coffee (£4). The coffee was from Danish roaster Coffee Collective, with four single-origin varieties on offer. On noticing the same Kenyan Kieni coffee I tried recently as a cortado at Fringe in Paris, I decided to go for that, brewed through the V60.

There was a selection of sandwiches (most around £5) on the counter, which looked great, but I already had lunch plans, so I compromised and went for a cake instead. The pistachio and fruit loaf (£2.75) won me over, but Antipodeans will be probably be pleased to see Anzac biscuits on offer.

My coffee soon arrived, prepared carefully by barista JC, and it tasted great. The juicy, fruity notes of the coffee came through nicely; I got hints of blackberries although the flavour profile is somewhat more complex. The coffee also went nicely with the pistachio bread, which was moist and tasty.

I asked JC about the original branch of The Penny Drop because Melbourne will be my first stop on my upcoming four-week Antipodean adventure (of which much more later this week). He used to work there and was incredibly helpful, suggesting myriad coffee shops and restaurants to try when I'm in the city. My Melbourne coffee list is currently so long that it's impractical so it was great to get some personal recommendations, and nice to spend so much time chatting about the Australian coffee scene. Thanks for your help, JC!

The Penny Drop. 13 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 2AH (Tube: Goodge Street). Website. Instagram.

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