North London's Cultural Guide

Best Coffee 2011: Arancini Brothers

1. Arancini Brothers
2. Bean About Town
3. The Wine Cellar

Kentish Town finally has good coffee. Voting in this category was wide open, with a couple of (always apologetic) votes for the big boy newcomers Costa and Pret among them (incidentally, the debate continues to rage over how positive the arrival of these two chains on the High Street is – what do you think?)

We can guarantee, however, that our winners are all serving drinks with more depth, flavour, character, richness and love, so remember to give them a try rather than plumping for the bright lights each time. Ok, Lesson over.


Tufnell Park’s literary spot Rustique and legendary café Mario’s pulled a few votes, but both were pipped to the #3 spot by The Wine Cellar. The Portuguese deli has carved a great reputation for its roast beans of late, or the ever popular combination of “expresso and a custard tart” (just £2).

Quality roasts are also the name of the game at Bean About Town, the mobile coffee stall outside the tube. Perfect for that espresso shot on the way to work or a warm latte consumed on foot to accompany the festive shopping, the little van is functional, delicious and by definition all about the coffee.

But for the second time in our ‘Best of 2011’, the impact of Arancini Brothers on the Kentish Town scene is proving very hard to ignore. Serving rich antipodean-style coffees alongside the mouthwatering spread of cakes and arancini-based sandwiches, the area finally has its own artisan coffee shop. The irony is, of course, that they get their beans from their mate at Bean About Town. But still – they both serve completely different ends of the high street…so everyone’s happy, right?

The location might be a little off the main drag, but already hardcore espresso and long black fans are making the daily detour. This is one addition to the street that it’s hard to find anyone debating the merit of. Congrats to them on taking a second title.

Tomorrow: Best Random Thing
Words: Tom Kihl

5 thoughts on “Best Coffee 2011: Arancini Brothers”

  1. This is all very exciting – I’d never heard of Arancini Bros as I’m never down that end of Kentish, so I’m glad they’ve been flagged up (not once, but twice!). I will be visiting in the new year!

    I have to disagree with Rustique for ‘Best Coffee’ nominee, though. A pretty, cosy cafe, yes, but the coffee is like dishwater.

  2. Alas we would never vote for Rustique either. That coffee is definitely from the 70s…but some readers did (perhaps as it’s a lovely, bookish interior).

    We also think Kentish Canteen serves great coffee and should have got some votes in this category, so that’s another option if you are on the verge of getting sucked into Pret or Costa.

  3. I absolutely agree that Arancini is outstanding. Wonderful coffee, great staff, and really fabulous savory and sweet goodies to eat. It’ll be really great when they open over the weekend for long leisurely brunches too.

  4. Had the pleasure of flying with Easyjet today and Arancini Bros get a mention as the place in London to get arancini rice balls in a section on street food in their latest magazine!

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