Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It seems an age since Pip and I got to spend some time together in a great cafe. When the cafe date craving became too much, we decided that we'd have to make time in our busy work schedules and find somewhere where we could get some inspiration. I hit up my 'Top 10' list of coffee bars in London and stumbled upon Monmouth in The Borough near London Bridge.

Monmouth is situated right opposite the main entrance to the Borough Market in a very old but inspiring part of London. As we approached the cafe, the inviting atmosphere seemed to spill out onto the street. Excitedly we reached the entrance and what we found was a beautiful espresso bar almost as good as I ever imagined. The entrance is set up with the coffee bean varieties on display so that you can buy them on your way past without having to go too far into the building. This seemed to work perfectly as there was a consistent stream of people buying up these blends of coffee beans.

The counter setup is done in such a way as to involve you in the whole coffee experience. Brew bar filter coffee is brewed right in front of you just as the latte art is painted onto the espresso canvas right before your eyes. Pip ordered a flat white which looked and tasted as good as the best we've tried and the nice girl at the till talked me through their many filter coffees, of which I picked a Kenyan blend which was the newest on the menu. The staff seemed to really know what they were talking about and I felt I had been engaged with the story behind the bean and the process happening right in front of me, I wasn't simply getting a caffeine hit.

The communal style seating was both good and bad. It felt like the kind of place you'd go to more for the 'coffee' than a 'catch up'. Pip and I like to sit together and have discussions which you cannot do when you have a stranger sitting next to you, denting your bubble of personal space. The lack of music too might have made the place less comfortable had it been empty, although I'm not sure it would ever be.

A few other things we took note of for our own (one day) cafe, was the way the food was presented in an almost 'help-yourself' fashion. We also love the look of brick and wood which Monmouth had working very well together.

Basically we love this place and it's going to be hard to beat, it certainly made the place we went for lunch afterwards seem like a fish n chip shop. Look at the photos below. I also took some on my Diana F+ but those will have to wait until I develop the film.

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