Best coffee in Soho

As a blogger on the go and a coffee fanatic, I am always on the lookout for the best independent coffee houses. Internet and plug sockets are certainly a bonus, but if the coffee is good enough, I’m willing to sit in a cramped corner to enjoy a good blend and brew. Soho is forever introducing new and quirkier cafes, as the city’s centre for good food and drink, I thought it was about time I compiled a list of my top Soho coffee hang-outs.

1. Nude Espresso, Soho Square: Cute and cool, many believe Nude Espresso offers the best coffee in Soho. I was impressed by the silky smooth flat white and the indulgent hot chocolate.

2. Rapha Cycle Club, Brewer Street: For coffee and cycle lovers alike… careful and precise baristas make unrivalled espressos and in the shop trendy cycling gear hangs ready for the more athletic foodies to admire! Huge and light venue ideal for relaxing and reading a book.

3. Tapped and Packed, Wardour Street: My favourite place to write and think… a hazily lit, lazy lounge with low hung lights and wooden benches. Plenty of space to stretch your legs, open your laptop and wile away the afternoon browsing the net. T&P offer a wide range of coffees, so there is variety for picky customers.

4. Flat White, Berwick Street: Another tiny venue and a real coffee destination. If you can bear a crowd, the delicious coffee here really is worth fighting for. Serving a very moreish Square Mile blend.

5. Speakeasy, Lowndes Court: Hidden away behind Carnaby Street, Speakeasy is a fun venue. Great coffee, cool crowd, shame about the lack of plug sockets and internet access (bloggers beware this is not the ideal writing venue). Groovy neon artwork on the walls by Benjamin Jamie.

6. Foxcroft and Ginger, Berwick Street: Filled with arty types F&G serve flavoursome food and good coffee. I love the mismatched chairs and eclectic decor. The welcoming chatter and friendly staff make this cafe a great place to spend time alone or with friends.

7. Milk Bar: This place is hip and happening and has a following of loyal fans. Like its sister branch Flat White, Milk Bar offers a balanced blend of Square Mile coffee. The interior is cosy and familiar, a lovely place to gossip with friends.

Other great coffee houses nearby: New Row Coffee and Kaffeine.

Nightjar, Shoreditch

Nightjar is surreptitiously squeezed in between two greasy spoons on City Road, near Old Street Station. This bar is a hidden gem filled with an air of desire and attraction, a cabaret den for music and magic.

Once allowed in, you follow the steps downstairs and are greeted by a sultry hostess and taken to your seats. The interior is typical speakeasy: velvet sofas, dimmed lighting and a low ceiling. If you can, try to sit at the bar where you can see the mixologists at work and challenge them to create you a bespoke drink. It is a stylish venue and guests often dress up for the occasion. Dressed in drab work clothes, I felt painfully low-key so trotted off to the loo before my friend arrived to doll myself up a bit and apply a bit of much needed lippy. This is the kind of place where lipstick is a must.

Nightjar offers my two favourite things: cocktails (obviously) and tapas… authentic small plates of yummy treats for peckish visitors. In need of something to nibble, we ordered a Charcuterie plate and a Manchego cheese board, a substantial snack which was perfect for picking. They arrived promptly, rustically presented on artisan wooden boards with olive oil and cornichons. The food was delicious, the kind of meat and cheese you would find in a top deli.

Cocktails arrived with little amuse-bouche snackettes and glasses of water. The choice is dazzling, there are too many weird, wild and wonderful creations to choose from, I felt overwhelmed and a little sad that I would miss out on so many. Explaining our preferences for rum and gin, the coquettish waitress advised us on suitable combinations and I was too weary to challenge her suggestions. Beachcomber’s Punch (buttered Bacardi 8 year rum, mamajuana cordial, splash absinthe, fresh pineapple juice, mastiha honey, fresh squeezed lime, chia tea and soda) for me and the Kama Aina (G’vine Floreaison gin, elderberry infusion, triple sec, mastiha honey, fresh squeezed lime and sparkling coconut water) for my friend. They were both spectacular, each presented beautifully. Mine was served in an exotic towering high cup with crushed ice toppling over the brim, burnt coconut, a carved cyclinder of pineapple, and a cherry, dusted with a mysterious spice. The drink was strong but soothing, a fruity concoction with a softness from the honey and tangy twist from the lime and absinthe. The gin drink was enchanting, arriving on fire – we knew at once the taste would be equally dramatic! It is a summery cocktail, perfect for the beach with a wonderful hint of elderflower and coconut, an innovative combination of flavours.

The prices at Nightjar are high, especially for Shoreditch, with most drinks costing around £10. However as soon as you have seen the stunning concoctions and the flair and attention given to each and every glass they seem worth the expense. Suddenly supper doesn’t seem so important, when the money could be spent on another masterpiece drink.

We were tempted to stay for the musical entertainment, but the start time was just a little too late, especially for a school night. So wandered out woozy and jolly into the night. Nightjar offers some of the most glamorous cocktails in town, I’m already planning my return visit.

Visit the website here for more information.

http://www.barnightjar.com/