But first, coffee.
Covent Garden has some brilliant restaurants, but it’s also the perfect place for raging coffee fanatics. There are indie coffee shops and smaller chains dotted between every Costa, Pret and Starbucks and they are often much better. And, if you can support smaller business as you feed your caffeine addiction, why wouldn’t you?
Farmstand focuses on sustainable and ethical eating; serving only local produce from trusted UK-based suppliers. As a nice touch, there’s a little map above each buffet item to show you exactly where it came from. The coffee is undeniably excellent and, if you stick around for lunch, you can rest assured that they’ll serve every Tom, Dick and Harry with whatever dietary requirement you can think of.
Find Farmstand at 42 Drury Lane, WC2B 5RT.
Jacob the Angel
Last year, the team behind much-loved London restaurants The Palomar and The Barbary thought they’d try their hand at coffee. Jacob the Angel is a tiny little café with only 10 seats, but the food – and obviously the coffee – is always available to takeaway. They are famous for their signature coconut cream pies, so we suggest pairing your espresso with one of these.
Find Jacob the Angel at 16A Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP.
The Black Penny
This little coffee shop has been lovingly designed to highlight its gorgeous original features; including exposed brick and wood panelling – making it the perfect environment for latte and chill. You should definitely stick around for a spot of brunch, too – and perhaps check out their event space in the basement. Find out what’s on.
Find The Black Penny at 34 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AA.
Monmouth Coffee have been roasting and retailing since ’78, when they were using rather old-fashioned methods in their basement. Fast forward to now and they’re flaunting some of the best coffee in the capital. If you fancy buying some of their beans for drinking-coffee-at-home purposes, let them know what method you’ll be using to make it (cafetière, filter, etc), and they’ll grind it for you.
Find Monmouth Coffee at 27 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EU.
Covent Garden Grind
We bet you’re no stranger to the Grind; neither the daily slog, nor the fast growing London-based mini-chain. Covent Garden’s branch is particularly beautiful, with a neon sign replicating Bowie’s handwritten lyrics to ‘Heroes’, as well as plenty of greenery. They roast their own coffee and are famous for their Espresso Martinis, so it’s safe to say that these lot know a thing or two about beans.
Find Covent Garden Grind at 42 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7LJ.
Nordic Bakery is a stunning Scandinavian-style café, designed as a place of calm and serenity within the bustling city. It’s about as minimalistic as you can get, and the only clutter in sight is a delightful cluster of cinnamon buns and tosca cakes.
Find Nordic Bakery at 55 Neal Street, WC2H 9PJ.
Coffee Island prides itself on being not only a coffee shop, but also an experience. They deliberately built their espresso bar at a low height so that their brewing process is clearly visible to their customers, and the baristas are happy to answer any questions you may have about the secret to making the perfect cup of Joe.
Find Coffee Island at 5 Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9NY.