Nude Espresso is a name that should be familiar to coffee lovers across London. Although they only have two actual cafes, they supply their Brick Lane roasted coffee to 16 cafes including one of my local favourites, The Haberdashery in Crouch End. Their Soho café, which I am reviewing today, is perfectly situated in a corner of Soho Square.
Coffee – 5/5
With its own ‘micro-roastery’ on Brick Lane, you would expect someone that goes to these levels of coffee love to have some exceptional coffee. And they do. The cappuccino, made using their own blend (obviously), was full of deep, smooth favours. While the portion size was a little small for my tastes, it was potent and warm enough that you could nurse it for a good twenty minutes without losing too much of the heat or flavour. The milk was perfectly frothed – creamy and smooth as opposed to gassy and loose. All round, a pretty excellent cup of coffee. And at £2.70, not too bad for a central, high-end cafe. They also had on offer single origin espresso, which on the day I visited was from Guatemala.
Atmosphere – 3/5
The café has the feeling of a business café. With just row of seating in front of the counter along with a mezzanine level adding extra seating, it isn’t a cosy café. That day it was full of what I’d call ‘working Soho’ – producers, editors and app developers as opposed to the social Soho or runners. Everyone was suited up and talking business. The design is quite minimal and half the seating is stools, which is a bug-bear of mine. Who wants to drink coffee on a stool? However, it did have a bustling, getting-business-done atmosphere and would be the perfect place for a quick meeting or post-meeting espresso. The odd things was that, despite its clearly connected clientele, it didn’t have wifi, with a sign urging customers to ‘talk to each other.’
Food – 2/4
Food ranged from the usual baked goods and snacks to more substantial sandwiches, salads and various eggs on toast. While I didn’t get to taste anything, everything looked very appetising and was reasonably priced.
Service – 2/3
Fitting with the atmosphere of the café, the service was very professional and the barista were obviously well-trained and knew their stuff. I even saw one of the staff weighing the coffee portions for their espresso and wouldn’t make it until she got it perfect. There was a feeling of attention to detail and getting everything right. However, it is what I’d call functional service. They were there – first and foremost – to provide you with the best cup of coffee possible. Chat and interaction felt like it came second place.
You could buy their coffee ground to your specifications and they also had other coffee paraphernalia available to buy, which was nice to see. Apart from that, not much else. Also, it isn’t open on the weekend.
Summary – 13/20
While the coffee is star here (and it is one of the best cups of coffee I’ve tasted in a long time), I feel a little more thought could have been put into making the customer feel comfortable. However, with its weekday only opening times and location, it clearly has its target market and serves them well.
19 Soho Square
Tel: 07712 899 336
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 7.30am – 5.30pm / Sat-Sun closed