05 August 2014
06 August: Workshop Fitzrovia: A new London heyday
A nineteenth century rendezvous for London’s intellectual and literary figures, the neighbourhood of Fitzrovia has been bolstered in the coffee stakes in recent months with the arrival of Curators Coffee Gallery, Kin and Workshop. The London Coffee Guide Editor, Guy Simpson, provides his take on one of these exciting new...
A nineteenth century rendezvous for London’s intellectual and literary figures, the neighbourhood of Fitzrovia has been bolstered in the coffee stakes in recent months with the arrival of Curators Coffee Gallery, Kin and Workshop. The London Coffee Guide Editor, Guy Simpson, provides his take on one of these exciting new speciality coffee venues, Workshop’s new Fitzrovia outpost.
Workshop Fitzrovia: A new London heyday
The Workshop Coffee empire is in expansionist mood with the arrival of a fourth coffee bar just months after the debut of its praised Holborn site. The new Fitzrovia location couldn’t be more different from its sister shops or, for that matter, London’s other speciality coffee destinations.
The venue’s design harks back to London’s imperial heyday. Its intricate tiling, antique mirrors and gold details speak of the grandeur of a Victorian parlour, yet burnished with a distinctly Bohemian patina. Nineteenth century intellectuals wouldn’t look out of place ensconced in the richly-upholstered chairs, the atmosphere thick with discussion and ideas. And then there’s that bar: a sovereign slab of Madagascan granite, seemingly imbued with a special magnetism which draws the admiring gaze (and hands) of anyone nearby.
The service area is quite narrow, but intelligently fitted around a La Marzocco Linea PB machine. The coffee is precisely what you’d expect from Workshop: light-roasted, expensive and undeniably delicious. The baristas are efficient and deliberate, moving deftly under the ever watchful eye of Manager Sara Larsson. There’s food too, although it’s more light lunch than calorific brunch. But then this is very much a bar to sip espresso during the working week, rather than a place to languorously while away a weekend.
There’s a sense of mastery about the whole place; something that might’ve felt premature if this was Workshop’s first outing. But three years on, the company has banked a considerable amount of respect in the third wave coffee scene. So much so, that it has surely earned the right to such an assured expression of coffee bar design. Workshop Fitzrovia is by no means a venue of scale, but its entrance feels weighty. It’s an irrefutable statement that in speciality coffee, London is enjoying a new heyday with Workshop very much at the vanguard.
80A Mortimer Street
Review by The London Coffee Guide