So I took the morning off, which was a treat in itself and on the ‘to-do’ list four of the finest coffee emporiums in London, already I’m thinking that’s a lot of coffee to do in one stint. So there I am in Long Acre, it’s a lovely spot with Borough Market just around the corner for all your special food needs and enough top pubs to keep the unholy trinity of Burton, Harris & O’Toole oiled for a good day or two (if you are in the area check out The Rake at 14 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AG).
I wander into Dose Espresso, a small and tidy coffee house on Long Lane, it’s nice, bright and welcoming. Which is a good start. I realise I’ve no money and they don’t take cards – I return ten minutes later with some cold, hard cash. James Ellroy would be pleased. I ask if there is a signature drink and we end up with the ‘Dose’, an espresso served in the New York style, it’s pretty thick and needs to be stirred up ‘to get the full flavour and sweetness’. It’s good, very good in fact. It helps that Dose use Square Mile Roasted coffee beans – and that’s another story right there. I stir up the rich, flavoursome sediment and savour it slowly before finishing it. For some reason I think it necessary to have a cappuccino as well as a tasty looking muffin to help me along.
I’m about a bite and half into the muffin and the Dose hits me like a steam train on its way out of Dodge. Holy cow! That’s pretty pokey. I’m looking round trying to stay calm while one of the staff sits down opposite me with a bowl of cereal and a paper. “Quick, take some notes” I think. “You idiot” my brain squeals at me, “You’ve just done a sh*t load of caffeine and now you’re in trouble.” I know, I’ll dilute it with the cappuccino. “You genius” my brain shouts, “Now we’re really in trouble.” Instead of a stream of notes flying out of my pen onto the paper I have to sit there trying not to shake, twitch or talk rubbish like an amateur coffee drinker – I’d like to think I’m not. I cough up for the bill, have a quick chat with the people behind the counter and try to leave without looking like I’m following a silent rendition to an Agadoo 80’s classic. Classic? Next time, I think that I might skip the cappuccino. “You think?” asked brain.
So then, Dose coffee house. Very nice, a bit small so you’ll never have a big meeting in there and that’s for the best as Dose is more about the drink and process than the noise that comes out the other end. The chaps were friendly, the food from Flourish Bakery was lovely, I’d more than happily pop back for a Dose and a quick read of the paper. It looked like trade was steady, I was there mid-morning so I imagine the early morning rush is pretty fierce. Well done to James Phillips and his crack squad.
I get outside, take breath and try to relax. No chance. Oh well. Once I’d got over that I went in search for Gwilym Davies – the man with the cap in Whitecross Street Market. More coffee, the same morning, already wired, two more coffee houses after that – I’m getting hurt at some point. The story continues…
James sources his lovely food from a variety of places including Flourish for the pastries; bread from ‘Born and Bread’, brownies from ‘Bea’s of Bloomsbury’ (that place is making me fat) and his girlfriend makes the muffins at home!
Dose Espresso, 69 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9EJ. Website: www.dose-espresso.com