Time Out says
This diminutive, dimly lit room beside the veg stalls of Berwick Street Market was one of the places that signalled, when it opened in 2005, the increasing influence of Antipodean coffee culture in London. It was hugely popular from the outset.
Coffee has always occupied centre stage here, and while espresso drinkers have sometimes been disappointed, our latest visit was a resounding success. Made with single-estate beans from Uganda, our espresso was distinctive, roasted with care and a welcome sidestep away from the high-roasted house blend. Coffee with milk has never been a problem, and both a flat white and a piccolo were spot-on. The food menu is small but sound. Decor and seating are basic, and the place can feel cramped when busy. But at quieter times, Flat White is bliss – especially if the weather is good and you can bag a seat outside.
17 Berwick Street
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Users say (23)
Average User Rating
2.5 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:9
Service is at times overwhelmingly bad .. I've stood flabbergasted more than once .. not pleasant .. but it does seem to be improving. Better options now though (try no. 193 Wardour St or Freestate in Holborn) .. with genuinely lovely staff.
Finally, a good cup of coffee!
As an Australian I am (completely undeniably) a coffee snob. I had a friend visit who is also a complete coffee snob, and felt the pressure of finding her a good cup of coffee while we were in London city. Obviously Flat White did not disappoint. I tried a Mocha this time, which was heavenly, tasting like real chocolate instead of sugary syrups. My friend had (my usual) a flat white, which lit her face with glee at first sip.
The shop is basically a hole in the wall (but aren't all good coffee houses?) so seating is limited. They have a small range of food options such as bagels and muffins etc. I wouldn't recommend the food, as I had a bagel once and felt the bread was stale. But the coffeeeee..
I live across town and always thought it worth trekking to the cafe because of the excellent breakfast and atmosphere. Last time I was there I had the most amazing toast, scrambled eggs and grilled chorizo. The bread was artisan and fresh, the eggs were bright yellow and delicious and the chorizo was to die for! Not to mention the generous size of the portion.
Imagine my disappointment when I dragged my boyfriend there telling him what an awesome place it was only to get food that was barely edible and appalling service.
I got three meager pieces of bread, some scrambled eggs which were cold and rather grey, and a few slices of cold, pre-packaged chorizo. Far from the delicious meal I was expecting!
My boyfriend had a bacon sandwich (because there were no more bagels) and that was two small pieces of regular, supermarket sliced bread with a few slices of incredibly salty bacon.
We also had two glasses of orange juice and that cost us £20.50.
Apart from the appalling quality of the food, the service was also incredibly poor. There wasn't a single person there who smiled or made us feel welcome and well looked after in any way. Even the piece of paper with your email on it, was thrown on the table in front of me and the girl didn't even look at me or try to make amends.
I was furious and incredibly disappointed. That quality of food and service for THAT price is absolutely unacceptable. Especially in a place like London where high standards are essential to survival.
Flat White was one of my favourite place in town but it is not worth going back to anymore.
This is my favourite coffee shop, I work just a few doors away and would never go anywhere else for coffee. The staff are great and the general hubbub makes it a really nice local feeling place
Their coffee is quite decent, but their breakfasts are awful. This morning I had two poached eggs on toast which, with a flat white, came to about £9. One egg arrived with a broken yolk,the bread was floury white bread probably from the Co-op a few doors down, and the eggs themselves were low quality. They were served with dour disinterest from the staff. Won't be back, not even for coffee.
Great coffee and it's always a treat to have a nice bit of bananabread with butter! I'm making myself hungry.
This place has been ruined by the new owners. The menu has been replaced by tasteless rubbish, the staff are useless, the atmosphere non existent and the coffee not a patch on what on it once was. Timeout MUST update their review to reflect the changes. Avoid at all costs!!!! So many great places nearby: Tapped, Nude, Lantana (fabulous eggs), Monmouth, Notes etc
"New owner Tracey Petersen – of Giaconda Dining Room – has not tampered with a winning formula." Oh but sadly she has. We've been going to Flat White and Milk Bar for the last five years. The coffee, atmosphere and service has gone downhill and we miss the original staff. But taking the poached eggs off the menu was taking it too far. Does anyone have any good alternatives in Soho? (with poached eggs, clearly! Unfortunately that rules out Tapped and Packed...)
This used to be the best place in town:great coffee, service, food and atmosphere. Now it is just a waste of time. The coffee is not a patch on what it used to be, food is pathetic and the staff are useless. The atmosphere has changed from somewhere you never wanted to leave, to a crap cafe. I am mourning the loss of my favourite cafe, but with so many other great places nearby, please avoid this place.
Flat white has been my coffee home since i moved to London 6 years ago. I head away for 6 weeks for work and return to a half ass renovation and new staff. Coffee has gone decidely down hill and now i read the recent reviews below. Thanks for the heads up to the reviewers below. This London pioneer will sadly fade away. Thankfully there are plenty of other options in Soho 6 years on!
Flat White, like its sister cafe the Milk Bar, now survives in name only. About a year ago both were taken over by new managment. The ruination of the Milk Bar was almost immediate, with the decor changed to dowdy and plain and the baristas, some of the best in London, leaving the ship. The same thing had now happened to Flat White: a refurbishment that leaves the place looking decidedly worseand an exodus of the old staff. With the staff and the decor went the vibe, the atmosphere, that made these cafes fantastic. All gone. And with top baristas goes top coffee. It's nowhere near its former quality. I anticipate its quick demise..
That used to be my favourite cafe in London...not until this morning. Stuff are NOT great at all, two girls were chatting to each other instead of making my coffee so had to wait for 10min to be served with cold mocha. Argh.
Nope, the staff aren't great or particularly friendly, at least when I went on a busy Saturday morning. Took them over 10 mins minutes to make me a latte, during which time 2 sets of people who came in AFTER me were served. The guy next to me was in the same situation. Seeing me sitting there, I was asked by the girl who served me "What are you waiting for?". After another 5 mins, I asked again, only to be told there's a long queue (??). In my opinion, the disorganisation is poor management, not a fault of the serving staff. Also, there are no toilets. Having said all that, the coffee was good and worth the £3 - but not the wait nor frumpy service.
The definitive espresso bar in London, they wrote the book. Staff are great, despite a frankly staggering workload everyday, and the coffee is consistently brilliant. Bad customer service tends to stem from bad customers.
Have never actually written a review on Time Out, but was compelled to so after visiting Flat White with my wife a couple of weeks ago. It was a Saturday, and it was rammed. So far, so good, a very enthusiastic clientele. So we order an espresso each to take away (there were no seats) and straight away I thought "Wow, this is worse than the free machine at work!" Genuinely awful, I really should have taken it back. I don't know if they never clean their machines, or what on Earth they are using as their grind, but it was really bad! Monmouth beats the pants out of it! Avoid unless you have previously singed off your taste buds and no longer give a damn.
OK coffee, very poor customer service lately. Staff act as if the customer is a pain, a disturbance to their day. There's laid back and there's just plain wrong. The new owner has let things slip - wont be long before customer number slip to. Funny thing is, if anyone from Flat White were to read this they would be too arrogant to act upon any of the points made.
I really don't understand what all the hype is about. It was SO NOISY in there, not just the music but also their coffee machine wasn't working properly and there was this HORRENDOUS LOUD PULSATING HUM, making this tiny place even more claustrophobic. When I asked staff if it was always that loud they just laughed and said it was normal. Deprived! We left very quickly, would not recommend this at all.
Friendly and fun. This remains London's best coffee shop for all round quality and surroundings. The owners really know how to create amazing coffee and unlike other coffee shops they do it with energy and fun rather than snootiness and arrogance.
Still churning out consistently one of the best drops in London. Take it for what it is, a coffee bar with snacks and you will be impressed. One of the true originals in Londons new wave of coffee houses.
If you want your coffee scalded and foamy, try Starbucks. Flat White serves it at the right temperature.
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