Best Coffee was a category that almost couldn’t have existed in Kentish Town three years ago. Even last year the late arrival of Arancini really helped things along, with both newcomers and old favourites neck and neck.
So, in our new, coffee-rich postcode, who just missed out in 2012? Doppio Cafe, at #4, an excellent Italian warehouse and caff which has expanded its loungey seating area these last few months (but please – get that WiFi sorted!) Teeny Houspresso, opposite Gospel Oak station, and The Wine Cellar were joint #5, both cosy haunts for a more than decent cup if you’re in need of a caffeine fix in their respective parts of town.
Others that received votes were Kentish Canteen, Ginger & White, Renoir and Map Studio Cafe, although one respondent said of the latter: ‘Actually don’t know if this is the best coffee, but I like the atmosphere.’ Spot on; the coffee radically needs a rethink. Sadly, no votes for E.Mono-offshoot Mike, or even Mario’s: come on people, that one’s a classic. Plenty of votes too for Costa and Pret. Really. And finally, one reader’s tip for a home brew? ‘Poundstretcher on Kentish Town Road do extra large Kenco for £4 which lasts ages!’
Our clear winner this year, and yes folks, it’s a chain in a ’boutique’ kinda way (there are six locations across north and south London now, from Clapham to Dalston). ‘For sheer consistency and quality (let alone convenience), Bean About Town. Made with love and care every time,’ said one reader. And you’re right: hand-crafted, ethically-sourced, 100% Arabica Beans…coffee here is impossible to fault. Bonus points too for the boys’ stamina, whether it’s boiling hot or blizzards out there. We also like the wooden benches (but come on Camden Council, let them put more out, especially in the warmer months – in fact how about a small seating area?) In short, is there a more breezily romantic spot, under the canopy, whatever the weather, with that view over the railway lines to Parliament Hill?
Last year’s winner is at #2 this year; nothing to do with standards slipping – instead, the simple explanation is how much bigger our readership has grown (and how many more people pass by Bean About Town over Arancini). ‘Up there with the best coffee in London, not just K Town,’ said one reader. ‘By about a million per cent,’ said another. If anything, the ‘Brothers’ have settled into their stride this year: the bijou diner is now open at weekends (when it’s packed), and a quirky lo-fi garden was scrubbed up in the summer. ‘I really wish we could switch its location with Costa,’ sighed one reader, ‘because I’d get coffee there more frequently. Great coffee, great staff.’ 115 Kentish Town Road
We have to say this new outlet bordering up and coming Wilkin Street Mews (alongside Kentish Town West station) was a surprise appearance in our Top 3. Not because they’re not worthy, but because they’re so goddamn new, in the face of such stiff competition. But very quickly Gavin, Sibylle and their baristas have proven their brilliant attention to detail with an ever-changing supply of Square Mile beanage. This time next year they could very easily be sitting at #1. But who knows what will open in 2013? Either way, a deserved runner-up for an excellent new artisan cafe. As one reader enthused: ‘Good coffee, well made, with great milk.’ 52 Prince Of Wales Road
Tomorrow: Best Breakfast
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