Monday, March 30, 2009

Taylor St Baristas
1a New Street
London EC2M 4TP

Off Bishopsgate, opposite Liverpool Street station

Taylor St Baristas is one of three places in the City which serves good coffee, the others being Manon Cafe on Copthall Avenue, but I may be biased here as you get a free piece of Leonidas chocolate with every purchase of coffee, and Mangiare, which initially grabbed my attention with a sign proclaiming they served "the best coffee on London Wall" with the fine print reading "as voted by regular customers". I'm inclined to think Taylor St Baristas serves the best coffee of the three, but, as with everything, this is all subjective.

The cafe, as with many cafes which serve good coffee in London, was opened up by a group of Australians. I'm not sure why Australians seem to have a monopoly on good coffee, at least in London, but, hey, I'm not complaining. I've drunk coffee from one of the best Australian coffee houses in the world, and I can assure you it was well worth the seven hour flight from Singapore and one hour journey from our hotel in King's Cross. Heck, it's well worth a 20 hour flight from New York. It's that good. 

Anyway, Taylor St Baristas, as you might have inferred from the 'a' in its address, is small. There are no tables to speak off, although there are three or four bar stools which you can perch on, provided there are no more than three people in the line. For that reason, although I've purchased coffee from this cafe a fair number of times prior to my deciding to cut down on spending, it hasn't featured on this site just yet. However, one fine Sunday afternoon, we decided to grab a coffee and discovered no one at all in here, so we decided to sit, enjoy a slice of lamington, and just chill for a couple of minutes or so. I suppose, in a fierce throwing down of the gauntlet of sorts, the view that you get from the bar is of the Starbucks right opposite it, which opened up a week or two after this cafe opened up.

A lamington (£2.50), we were told by Eastern European barista Michal, is a cake which has been dipped in chocolate and covered in dessicated coconut. Apparently, you can enhance the calorie content of this even further by choosing to eat it with jam for an extra 50 p. My friend had tried it before and liked it, so he decided to order it when Michal recommended this over the brownie. That, and he's a sugarholic. I don't like coconut so I didn't enjoy this very much. My friend ate my half without objecting.

Now, the coffee... the real reason why people go to Taylor St Baristas. I have not had a bad coffee at this place just yet, and this one was no different. Just as we entered, the customer exiting the cafe said that he'd read on some website that, of all the baristas at this cafe, Michal made the best flat whites. I guess we were fortunate in that the only other barista in the cafe stepped out to chat with that customer, because that meant Michal made both of ours, and while I don't have any basis for comparison, I certainly am not about to disagree with that guy's view!

although the reason why I hadn't been back there in three months prior to my Sunday visit was my decision to economise. Over here, a flat white will set you back £2.20, although I've just realised that with the loyalty card (buy five, get one free), a flat white costs £1.83 or so, which makes this the cheapest flat white around, I guess!

Still, given my spending spree of late (which I'd classify as normal if I were still working, but overboard if I'm not), I really shouldn't be going out and eating and drinking (coffee, not alcohol) the way I've been doing over the past few weeks! As a family member has noted, vintage clothing and coffee are my green kryptonites.

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