Independently owned and run gourmet café, located upstairs in Montezuma's tasteful chocolate store. Beautifully decorated in relaxing, stylish mauve hues with Venetian-influenced lighting and smoky Philippe Starck Louis Ghost chairs. Happily, the attention to detail follows all the way through to the coffee itself.
Expertly prepared, by the owner, who would prefer the customer to wait patiently for the perfect taste experience than opt for speedy service, an inferior coffee and a fast turnover. As it was recently opened and relatively quiet during my visit, I learnt a lesson in the art of professional barista-ing from James who has won awards in the World Barista Championships (yes, really). Watching it being made (and then tasting it), I understood the importance of grinding the beans freshly for each cup and the significance of a proper crema.
Tea drinkers are catered for, too, with an enticing Mighty Leaf selection (£2.40, per pot). Buy a huge slice of home-made cake to accompany your hot drink or partner it, fittingly, with a free truffle of the day, freshly delivered from downstairs. Not the place when you want a fast cuppa but a useful address to enjoy a tastefully relaxing break - away from the surrounding shopping masses.
I can't really add any more to the exceedingly detailed review by amethyst on the Artisan Coffee Company as she's said it all, but I'll certainly do my best.
The cafe's beautifully designed - it feels a little like an old-style European coffee house - and I wish I had the time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee here, but I usually end up getting a take-away and heading back to work.
The coffee is excellent and reasonably priced at £2.45 for a cappuccino. The baristas use Union coffee beans which, in my experience, usually make for a delicious cup of coffee. The best part about this cafe? You get a free chocolate truffle with every hot beverage you order!
Edited on Jan 5, 2010: I popped in there today and was told that the cafe no longer offers a free chocolate truffle with each coffee.
For a dinner party gift last night, a friend brought some Montezuma's 'crystallised seville oranges dipped in dark chocolate'. Hmmm, how to describe them. Probably one of my best chocolate experiences ever!! And I'm a chocolate fan. They were incredible - not bitter, not too sweet, kinda chewy but soft, really delicate chocolate - and perfect with a cup of earl grey tea. Champagne went quite nicely too :) Great for an interesting and different gift. Move over Terry's chocolate orange, you've had your day - we want actual orange + chocolate, not chocolate molded to the shape of an orange with something resembling orange flavour!
Other scrumptious fruits they apparently dip in their amazing Montezuma's chocolate are.. lime pickle (can't wait to try that one!), dark dusted dates, dark ginger, dark grand marnier apricots, dark kirsch cherries, dark lemon, dark madeira prunes, dark mango and white mango mmmmm. Get involved.
fantastic choccie shop, it makes you feel really grown up browsing the fantastic combinations of chocolate (chocolate and chilli etc). It is actually impossible to enter the shop without buying anything. Although it is much more expensive than a bar of fruit and nut it is the ultimate indulgence and something everyone should experience at some point in their lives. The staff are experts in their field and are eager to share their knowledge and make suggestions.
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