The coffee lover that reads these pages will have noticed the absence of a very significant word: ‘Monmouth‘. This has been of continuing consternation to me as I have been giving too much attention to Square Mile and Has Bean; both world-leading roasters in their own right. In addition, my professional dignity has been continually bruised by not including enough coffee shops south of Oxford Street. But this review ticks both boxes.
Fleet River Bakery is a wonderfully rustic and bright coffee shop where everything just screams ‘Breakfast’. With pastries that are both filling and tasty, and significantly more seating than most shops, it is no surprise that the queues can stretch some way through the shop. In most shops Pain au Chocolat is a bit of a tidbit, not enough to set this growing boy going for the day. However in Fleet River Bakery the pastry is substantial, and more than enough to tide you over to your midday graze.
The coffee shop doesn’t do any filters, something which initially disappointed me. But in retrospect, espresso based coffee is possibly the best choice for the breakfasts they serve, more reminiscent of a continental menu than your normal espresso bar in London. And on first sip of the flat white, I understood the approach entirely: the Monmouth espresso is so sweet. It could have had a syrup in it… but some sort of syrup that brings out the taste of the coffee. I don’t know how to describe this coffee rather than to say you’ve got to have it. The barista served it perfectly, with a swan woven into the art. If espresso is your thing, then this blend is just exquisite. The most enjoyable flat white I have had in a long time.
I don’t really know what else to say, other than this would be a regular of mine if I was closer. Meeting someone for breakfast in Holborn area? You would struggle to do better than this. Oh, and did I mention you can get free toast? Well, at least I think it was free…