29 April 2019

The Caffeine Chronicles: House of Morocco

Of all of the speciality coffee shops in King's Cross, Pattern Coffee was the closest to my desk — and the most colourful. But my disappointment at Pattern's closure, in late 2017, was soon assuaged when House of Morocco opened in its place. I first visited the latter soon after its opening with Brian, of Brian's Coffee Spot, whose review was rather prompter than mine. I've been back for coffee several times since then, most recently last week, when I was finally able to take some photos to accompany my review.

Located on a quiet stretch of Caledonian Road, five minutes' walk from King's Cross station, House of Morocco occupies a small rustic space with a wooden counter and tables, and assorted mis-matched furniture — my favourite place to sit being the brightly coloured upcycled cinema seats.

Although there have been some refurbishments, I was pleased that the distinctive patterned walls of House of Morocco's predecessor have remained in place. These are complemented by colourful Moroccan textiles. Meanwhile, large windows at the front and back of the shop allow light to stream through, even on dull days.

Each time I visited, I received a warm welcome from the friendly staff — even during the sometimes busy lunchtime period. The all-day food menu includes various dips (the hummus is delicious), Moroccan flat breads, and several Moroccan-influenced brunch dishes, which come with a side salad. They also serve a popular selection of raw juices and smoothies, as well as Moroccan fresh mint tea — about the only type of tea I ever drink, in case you were wondering.

As for the coffee, it comes from London-based Italian speciality coffee producer Terrone & Co. They use a 50% Guatemalan, 50% Brazilian blend for their espresso-based drinks. I usually order a macchiato or a cortado, which are invariably well made. The Terrone espresso tastes sweet and smooth in smaller espresso drinks.

On my most recent visit, I'd already eaten lunch but I did have room for one of the raspberry pastéis de nata that were sitting temptingly on the counter. I've never tried one of these crisp custard tarts with raspberries before, and the tart flavours contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the custard. Regular pastéis de nata are also available.

 During my trip to Marrakesh in 2011, I bought a couple of ceramic bowls, both of which I have managed to break. And if, like me, you have a penchant for Moroccan ceramics and other homewares, House of Morocco also has a small shop. There are some stunning rugs in their Etsy store, too.

Thanks to some recent openings, you can now walk about five minutes in any direction from King's Cross station and reach a great speciality coffee spot, and House of Morocco, to the north-east, is particularly lovely one.

House of Morocco. 82 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DN (Tube: King's Cross). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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

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