20 December 2021

The Caffeine Chronicles: Where's Fred's

On my way back from the Borealis light installation at Guildhall Yard on Thursday evening, I happened upon an A-board for a speciality coffee shop and wine bar tucked away off Old Jewry, just around the corner from Bank Station. Intrigued by the name, Where's Fred's, I stopped by the following day. I didn't find Fred but I did find some very fine coffee and brunch in the handsome, townhouse setting on a certain Frederick's Place.

There are a few tables outside Where's Fred's but as it was a cold, grey December day, I decided to take advantage of sitting inside while I still could. Set over two rooms, the interiors are very attractive with exposed-brick walls,  terracotta-tiled counters, leather banquettes and red-accented stools at the high tables. The palette is Mediterranean, which is appropriate because so is the food and drink menu.

The brunch menu, served until 3 pm, features dishes like pan con tomate and a truffled-egg croissant, but I was in the mood for comfort food, which for me often means avocado toast. Where's Fred's version, served on sourdough, was delicious, topped with seeds, chilli and lemon. In the evenings, you can choose from the likes of oysters, cured meat and cheese plates, and pan-fried chorizo. There's a concise cocktail list, as well as wines and beers on offer too.

As for the coffee, it's from Origin. The Resolute blend was in the hopper for espresso-based drinks, and they also had two single-origins for filter: the San Fermín, a washed coffee from Colombia, and the Beija Flor, a naturally processed coffee from Brazil. At the time of my visit, only batch-brew filter coffee was available, but they will be doing hand-brewed filter coffees too. I opted for a piccolo, which was brewed very nicely by Natalie and tasted great.

While I was at Where's Fred, I was able to chat to Natalie and Michel about the cafe, London coffee shops and much more. As London — and the world more generally — moves back into more difficult times again as a result of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, it's always a comfort to make small human connections like this. I got a very warm welcome at Where's Fred's, which encourages me to make a return visit as soon as I can. Maybe I'll even get to meet Fred!

After my visit, I found out that Where's Fred's is run by Chelsea Finch, who also runs the District coffee shops, which I also rate very highly. With hindsight, there were a few clues among the design elements and concept that might have tipped me off about this connection before. 

Where's Fred's. 7 Frederick's Place, London EC2R 8EA (Tube: Bank). Website. Instagram.

For 150+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, you can also check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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