This little Marylebone café is a spin-off from Monocle magazine, the showcase of design consultant and publisher Tyler Brûlé (the founder of Wallpaper*).
For such a high-profile backer and brand, the café is remarkably modest. It’s a pitstop where you can have espresso in the standard variations, such as latte or cappuccino. There is none of the gadgetry, choice of beans or roasts that you’ll find in the more dedicated, new-wave coffee bars. In this case, lack of choice was no loss: it was a richly flavoured Allpress blended roast.
Better than the perfectly decent coffee were the excellent pastries from Stockholm’s Fabrique bakery (which now has a branch in Haggerston). You won’t find better Swedish-style cinnamon rolls in London. The beautifully presented cakes are by Lanka, a London-based Japanese-run patisserie which successfully fuses French baking with Japanese flavours such as green tea.
In appearance the café looks like a cross between a sushi bar and a Swedish sauna with its artfully crafted wooden counter, classic mugs and tiny airline-style trays. Copies of Winkreative’s (Brûlé’s ad agency) portfolio are scattered around, the mugs are for sale and even the chocolates are monogrammed with the Monocle logo. The basement area is set aside for Monocle subscribers.
If you’re a Monocle fan you’ll love this well-styled product and the feeling of being in with the in-crowd. Even if you’re not a fan, the bought-in cakes and pastries are good – enough to make you not mind that you’re being used as a marketing opportunity.