Rapha CC is a cycle clothing shop and café. It is the first permanent site for the company which recently won the contract to provide the clothing for the Sky Pro Cycling team – the UK-based highest-ranking team in the world, many of whom at Team GB took so many golds on the Olympics.
This flagship Soho store shows that there is much more to the cycling-coffee pairing than a Lance Armstrong-style method of performance enhancement. After expansion in January 2014, the café area now occupies half the floor space of this very smart cycle clothing shop, and it provides ample seating for those wanting to rest their feet after patrolling on nearby Regent Street or picking up a pair of merino arm warmers from across the room.
The menu's been expanded too, with a new chef who changes the light menu to theme with whatever's happening in the world of cycle racimng that week (big screens show live footage) – so during the Giro d'Italia, for example, the soup will be a minestrone.
And man, do they love coffee. Their main suppliers are Germany and Sweden, but we ordered a guest espresso from a single estate in Uganda; they talked us meticulously through the technical details and later, unasked, brought a freebie of the same beans brewed in a different way. Food is standard coffee-bar fare. A truly lovely haven near Piccadilly Circus.