I went to the second branch of Notes yesterday with a friend before we went to the theatre and was really impressed. The original Notes on St Martin's Lane had gone down in my estimations since opening as it seemed to have got too big for its boots so I was pleased by the Covent Garden branch especially after being greeted and served by possibly the nicest and friendliest barista in London. Ever. I am still shocked/pleased at how nice he was!
I had a flat white and delicious and generous slice of sponge cake and my friend had a coke and blondie. Both our cakes were amazing and I enjoyed my flat white too, so many places fail to make a proper, let alone half decent one so this was fabulous!
There was a nice atmosphere and the cafe was pretty full but not in a horrible and packed kind of way. The loos, downstairs, were clean and nice too.
This is handy enough for Covent Garden but not too in the touristy hub to become overrun / ruined.
Would definitely return & recommend.
Filtered coffee is not easy to find in London, and when you do find it, it is often expensive. Here the price was only 3 pounds, which is 1.5 less than what I paid at another well known coffee shop. And for the price the coffee was every bit as delicious. If you are near Covent Garden, find this coffee shop - you won't be disappointed.
In a bid to be healthy, my training buddy and I decided to grab a light meal after our workout rather than hitting up a pizza or burger joint around Covent Garden. Notes seemed liked the perfect choice - a cosy wine/coffee bar serving up charcuterie platters and salads.
We walked in and were greeted by the two staff behind the counter...well sort of greeted as they were busy sipping wine and nibbling on bread and didn't realise we walked in at first. Not a problem - hell if I worked surrounded by wine I'd be hard pressed not to have a glass to hand. We were seated quickly and the menu was explained so all was good.
After a couple of minutes, we were ready to order and that's when things started to get a bit iffy. Despite waving at the staff a couple of times, we had absolutely no luck in attracting anyone's attention. Now that's fair if the place is busy but when there are only 6 people tops in the place, it shouldn't be that hard. When I finally decided to go up to order (which I would usually think is a bit rude in a place that has waiters), I found the guy was sipping wine while texting away on his phone and didn't even realise I was standing in front of him. Strike one.
I ordered a smoked duck salad for myself and a goat cheese salad for my friend and asked for bread as well. The salads showed up about 10 minutes later (really...how long does it take to make a salad?) and were miniscule. For £7, I expect a salad that at least looks like a main course, not one that would be challenged to claim a place as a side. The flavour of the smoked duck was alright - a light gamey taste with little smokiness - but what killed it was the thick layer of fat on each piece that added nothing to the flavour and everything to the oiliness. The goat cheese salad was literally just leaves with a few cubes of goats cheese - poor effort. Strike two.
Oh yeah, and when I asked again for the bread, we were instead served two glasses of red wine. Now I understand bread and red sound similar and with my accent maybe he was confused. But if you are in a wine bar and for some reason decided to order wine by saying "can we get a couple orders of red", I'd at least expect to be asked what type of red wine I wanted. We ended up passing on the bread as we had mostly finished our salads and wanted to head out to meet some friends. Strike three.
As you may have guessed by now, I'm not impressed with Notes and for the price feel that I got ripped off. Terrible value for money, the staff (while very smiley and nice) were not up to spec in terms of customer service, and overall the food was average at best. While I like the look of the place, I think it's something I'll glance at in passing and then continue on to Wildwood, Benugo, or any one of the tasty places in the area.
The 2nd branch of what is now the notes chain, this one features a large area at the back that's got a darker atmosphere than the first branch near Trafalgar Square. It also has a downstairs area that can be hired for events if required.
It's a handy place to go for a coffee if you're in the area, and certainly a cut above the rest of the places in the area.
Went on a Tuesday evening for a bit of food and drink. Live jazz was on downstairs, would have taken a look but the chairs were set up in rows school-style and we wanted to chat so we sat upstairs. Food is good but portion size varies widely; the chicken burger was a good size but the gnocchi was a tiny plate, and they're basically the same price. Bit stingy on the prosecco. Great coffee though.
Soy milk available. A few vegan snack options.
Nestled within the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, Notes is a haven for coffee addicts and wine lovers. It almost gets lost amongst the chains and restaurants that litter Wellington Street, but take my word on it, it's worth scouting out. Their coffee is incredible. They pride themselves on sourcing out the finest, freshest beans from around the world, and believe me, it makes a huge difference. I find it a struggle to buy from Starbucks now...their coffee tastes inferior in comparison to Notes'. Pair your brew with a slice of cake or a freshly prepared sandwich from their daily menu and you're seriously in business.
At the back they have a lovely little wine rack that customers can purchase bottles from either to drink in or take away. If you're not in the mood for a bottle, a handful of wines are always available by the glass as well. They have a lovely selection of cheese and meat platters to pair with your vino, and the staff are more than happy to make recommendations on food and wine pairings. Wines by the glass are the same price as you'd find in a central London pub, but the quality difference is undeniable.
The service is lovely, the decor simple & rustic and the ambiance cozy. I always find it difficult to leave which often results in me ordering far more (and staying far longer) than intended.
Notes is a cute little cafe and wine bar nested in the heart of Covent Garden. The place is very welcoming and features an interesting and warm decor. Everything is very casual, simple but very communal. An example is their bread basket near the front register where one can simply help themselves. Germaphobes beware!
Personally I stepped in after walking by it and in search for a drink. I thought, why not? It was around 5PM and the place wasn't buzzing and quiet enough for me to enjoy my beer in silence. I got a London Porter from The Kernel Brewery and it was one of the best beers I've ever had. Local, malty and delicious. I even got a second one. We didn't order food, just had beers but the setting and staff made it very enjoyable. Also the jazz music was a nice touch.
So whether you want a latte, a glass of wine, a beer or some snacks like banana bread, cheese or even charcuterie (I think) while in Covent Garden in a much quieter place than the eateries located in the plaza, this is definitely a place you should consider.
Same sort of layout and setup as the Notes on St Martin's Lane (spacious).
Same stuck up and standoffish baristas as the Notes on St Martin's Lane (unnecessary).
Same ridiculously inflated prices as the Notes on St Martin's Lane (£2.80 for a piccolo is NOT okay).
A shame, because you'd get nice coffee in a big and attractive café if you could just get over the cost and the service.
And by 'you', I mean me.
I have never in my life encountered such stuck up baristas. I live just around the corner and started going to Notes a few years back. I stopped going after the first couple of weeks because the baristas were incredibly rude. There's a Balthazar boulangerie nearby that opened up, and not only are the staff amazing but their coffee is, too! They use Monmouth coffee, the same coffee used by the famous cafe on Monmouth St. in seven dials.
Anyway, I decided to try Notes today just because I was in a rush and it's closer to me, but it only confirmed my initial feelings. I WILL NEVER GO BACK HERE AGAIN! All thanks to the rude, slow, and inattentive baristas.
The 'new' Notes around Covent Garden follows the same successful pattern as the original at St Martins Lane which means a combination of good coffee (smaller selection but still professionally prepared - do not at all share the experiences of the staff. They have been very service minded and extremely friendly and helpful so perhaps the attitude of the customer also has an impact on if they appear stuck up or not), music/film store as well as a wine bar. The selection of wines by the glass is pretty good and staff can offer good suggestions. The food menu is fairly limited with cold dishes, sandwiches, salads and pastries so basically exactly the same as at original Notes.
If I had to choose I still prefer the original location due to the larger selection of coffee at the brew bar but this is a good option if one happens to be close to Covent Garden.
This is why I love independent coffee houses over the Starbucks, Costas and Neros of the world. Not only was the coffee delicious, but the service was attentive and engaging. Enjoyed a conversation with the barista about London coffee and music. A large production line shop would never spent the time to interact with my family, making the experience memorable.
A really good cappuccino. Get the biggest size. Counter staff friendly and polite.
Notes is a super little cafe nestled on the corner of St Martins lane, and also serves (as the name would suggest) music with a great selection of Jazz towards the back of the cafe. There's another branch in Covent Garden, however the Trafalgar Square branch is my favourite. They do a wicked Latte, and the banana bread isn't half bad either. My go-to escape from the chaos that is central London.
I am not the biggest fan of their first location, qype.co.uk/place/1642927… , but I wanted to take a look at their recently opened second branch. And I have to say, I like this shop much much more.
First, they sell wine and they do wine tastings. I haven't yet been at one, but that's definitely something that appeals to me.
Second, they have one screen on the wall. One. So you're not forced to look at some weird ballet performance, but you can if you want to. That's a big plus. Still, it confuses me if I listen to some kind of classical music, look at a video of some orchestra, but both doesn't match. But now, I can easily simply not look at the screen to avoid getting crazy ;)
Third, it feels much less like a music shop (because I think they have a shoppier shopfloor downstairs?!). It mainly feels like a nice light coffee shop with nice background music, where you could also enjoy some nice wines. Sounds like a very good combination to me.
I had a very good cappuccino and also a rich and tasty brownie. That's all you need at a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The only downside compared to their other location: today they seemed to be really slow, and it was not overly busy when I was there. But I was not in a hurry, so it was fine for me.
One of the best Cafes in London, and some of the best coffee in London.
Really great place, good coffee and brownies!
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.