13 January 2021

The Caffeine Chronicles: District, Nine Elms

While the UK remains in lockdown, I have still been able to seize small moments of joy by getting a takeaway coffee while on my allotted daily exercise. Last week, my walk-of-the-day took me to Nine Elms where I was able to visit the closest of District's three Aussie-inspired cafes; the other two locations are in Parsons Green and Mayfair. Unsurprisingly, I've missed travelling a great deal over the past year, so it was nice to take the opportunity to visit a small piece of Australia rather closer to home.

Although my regular running route is a loop around the central part of the Thames, I don't usually go down as far as Vauxhall Bridge, and the neighbourhood between Vauxhall and Battersea that forms Nine Elms isn't one I'm very familiar with. District is tucked away off Nine Elms Lane on New Union Square, just opposite the huge, shiny US Embassy. It's a residential area, with many new high-rise apartment buildings, but there are some shops and eateries too, including District.

In normal times, District serves coffee and brunch by day, and cocktails by night, with the large, airy cafe space, and benches outside, pleasant places to linger. At the moment, they're serving coffee and cakes to take away and the full brunch menu is also available to take out. There's a one-way system set up inside, so I scanned in the menu outside and then went in to place my order. The menu includes various sweet and savoury brunch classics, often with a twist, and as the menu was about to change for the month, my first choice (corn fritters) was unavailable, so I went for the avocado toast. I also ordered a flat white and a chocolate coconut flapjack.

While one of the team members whipped up my avocado toast, the barista made me an impeccable flat white in my Huskee Cup. I photographed it in the shop before ruining the wonderful latte art by putting the lid on to take it away. Origin's Resolute blend was in the hopper, its caramel sweetness working beautifully with the milk, and its name being rather apt for a cold, grey January Sunday in lockdown. District serves hand-brewed pourovers as well as espresso-based drinks, and there was a delicious-sounding Peruvian Eli Espinoza variety, also roasted by Origin, on offer.

The food, which I enjoyed later, was great too. After a few disappointing avocados at home, the smashed avo at District was vibrant and flavoursome, and was topped with lemon, chilli and seeds, making it very presentable. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other dishes on the menu too at some stage. The flapjack was an excellent treat after a long, brisk walk. For vegans and Veganuarians (and others, of course), there was also a vegan Bakewell tart on offer. They also sell a few grocery items and District-branded Sol Cups.

Continuing the theme of finding ways to experience my favourite travel destinations without leaving the local area, I was able to say hello to the charming camelids from outside Vauxhall City Farm on my way to District. Hiking Machu Picchu somehow feels like an awful long time ago...

District. 7 New Union Square, London, SW11 7DN (Tube: Vauxhall). Website. Instagram.

For 130+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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