15 August 2018

The Caffeine Chronicles: Abuelo

Ahead of my upcoming trip to Peru, I've been stocking up on hiking kit and it turns out that Southampton Street in Covent Garden is a great place to do this. After I've finished shopping, I happen upon a café called Abuelo and because I've been brushing up on my Spanish, I know its name means 'grandfather'. Indeed, despite the café's Aussie stylings, it also has a strong South American influence.

Late in the lunch period on a rainy Sunday and the diminutive eatery is busy with brunchers, but they manage to squeeze me into a space at the large communal table that occupies most of the space between the counter and the front window. There are a couple of smaller tables over to one side, and an even smaller one by the door. The decor is comfortingly rustic, with wooden chairs adorned with kangaroo motifs and walls adorned with large, photographic landscapes. The 'grandfatherly' name of Abuelo is supposed to invoke thoughts of family and home, and in that they have definitely succeeded.

There's a small but steady stream of takeout coffee orders. "Do you do proper Aussie coffee?" asks one guy, an Aussie. He has obviously missed the sign outside. Aussie coffee, it reads. The barista answers in the affirmative and a few minutes later, the customer is leaving happily with his beverage.

As for the coffee, Abuelo features various Central and South American single origins. The Peruvian Café Fememino available as a pourover sounds great — and would be apt given my reason for being in Southampton Street in the first place — but my space at the table is needed back in 30 minutes. Instead, I go for a flat white, brewed with the house coffee, the Colombian La Laguna. When in Melbourne...or Medellín, for that matter. It's a good choice and the coffee is well made and slips down very easily.

The Australian twists are present in the brunch menu too. It isn't fully vegetarian — there are several meaty toasties, for instance — but most of the dishes are, or can be made, meat free. I order the beetroot and rosemary hummus on toast, which comes with garlic broad beans, amaranth, greens, and a poached egg. It is as delicious as it is vibrant and colourful. I don't even get food envy when my neighbour's BBQ Croque Monsieur arrives. If you have room for dessert, the cakes on the counter make for a tempting offering.

The queue hasn't died down by the time I leave, but they do take bookings, or you can leave your name and come back a little later if they can't quite accommodate you. Despite the busy-ness, the staff were friendly and welcoming — just like if you were at your abuelo's house.

Abuelo. 26 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7RS (Tube: Covent Garden). Website. Instagram.

For 100+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my speciality coffee guide.

1 comment:

  1. That place looks awesome. What a great find!