When I visit one of these cafés, I don’t visit them once and declare thereupon that they are either thumbs up or down. No, if they’re bad I will always go back at least twice to confirm my suspicions. Likewise, if they’re good first time round then I’ll always endeavour to revisits, this ensures that the high standards I crave are suitably maintained. So what are my credentials for being judgmental on the anorak side of coffee tasting, well apart from having a photographic memory of everything that touches my tongue or whiffing via the nostrils (as I did with wine), very little else I expect. But trust me on this, I bloody well know my coffee.
The day I stop blogging about coffee is when London is saturated with an inordinate amount of so called bespoke coffee bars that churn out crap and inevitably blight the newfound coffee culture that I so dearly love. But I shall soldier on with my established and favourite outfits like Lantana, Taylor St and Climpsons, whatever happens. There will be a fourth one joining the other three and that’s The Espresso Room.
TER was chanced upon via one of my Flickr contacts, Jimseven. He’s also better known as James Hoffman, WBC 2007 (not boxing but barista) and Mr Square Mile; if the term ‘coffee god’ is ever coined here for the UK, he should trademark it! It’s no great secret that Square Mile supplies their beans to most of the nouveau coffee bars (nearly 50% according to my observations) in London (Milk Bar, Dose, Bea’s, and so on) and TER is the latest recruit.
In addition to sarnies made for the discerning ones who lunch, cakes and bites come from Sally Clarke.TER is located on the same road in Bloomsbury as the most famous children’s hospital in the world. Great Ormond Street, for obvious reasons, is a quiet road and it somewhat compliments the unassuming frontage of TER. Like Dose and Taste of Bitter Love, it’s small and as clichés go, perfectly formed to boot. Faithful to the name, it’s a room (single bed size if I'm not mistaken). As soon as one walks in you’re greeted by a smiling chap that’s Ben. To come across an affable proprietor, who’s also a barista and standing proudly by the La Marz (coffee machine that’s as important as the samurai knives are to a chef), then more or less everything else is a foregone conclusion. This place is indeed superb.
What I had here-
Re Flat Whites-
A note on Square Mile if I may. Hoffman and co are responsible for the smoothest tasting blends I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. But unlike the blends that are supplied by for instance, Monmouth, where a non-barista is still able to conjure up a half decent cup (as in the case of Canteen and its cappuccino); in my humblest, a Square Mile blend needs a fully-fledged barista to bring out its best. The peeps for the most notable Square Mile based flatties include Lee at Tina’s, James at Dose, the chap (never knew his name, shoot me!) who creates the most beautiful latte art in London at the Milk Bar, JoHanna at the Farm Collective and now we have Ben at TER.
Coming back here is a must as I’ve already identified the wonderful ease of the ambience that’s coupled with good coffee, my whims are satisfied no end. Drink and enjoy, highly recommended.
You can watch Andrew Tan's excellent video of Ben Townsend's inspirational words of wisdom and strife here.
31-35 Great Ormond Street
London WC1N 3HZ