Really good apple muffin and a macchaito. And you can splash your coffee with a glass of a lemon water for free.
I think they took the simplicity of the decoration a bit too far here, the space is practically empty.
Yes, they know their stuff but they're also charging over-premium price for them - I've not seen a nearly £4 muffin anywhere else in London.
Coffee was good. Nothing more.
A little coffee place in a little alley just off Carnaby Street with a small outside area and reasonably fashionable indoor area.
Their non hot drink menu is limited to cakes and filled croissants. The price refelcted the service and the views of too fashionable Carnaby shoppers (read expensive) but there there was little else that made this place stand out.
The lemon drizzle cake was slightly stale (though the drizzle bit was awesome!) and the flat white coffee unexceptional.
Extremely close quarters coffee inside quite close to Carnaby street. The range of cakes was nice, but the Mocha I eventually ordered was average and a little on the cool side.
I personally like my drinks very hot so I can choose the temperature I drink at. Faced with a cold coffee, you often feel pressed to rush the experience, and lets face it based on the location and the type of shop, it's an experience you're paying for.
Okay, not a must return.
This place looks classy (read = characterless) but my colleagues and thought we'd give it a go thanks to the outdoor seating and the fact that it was barely five minutes walk from the office. I naively went for the pulled pork roll and rather unfortunately received the end piece, which meant that £4.50 got me loads of hard, chewy pastry and barely any pork; not that I was overly disappointed since the meat itself was dry and tasteless. It supposedly contained apple . . . but I'm skeptical. When will I learn not to order pulled pork in a restaurant that isn't Pitt Cue? Probably never, because I am both stubborn and optimistic. Anyway, more to the point, the roll was simply plonked onto a dinner plate, naked and alone. It looked ridiculous and a bit sad: a massive plate without so much as a garnish, let alone an substantial accompaniment. It was utterly bizarre. It should have been served with a nice apple salad. Or how about a single lettuce leaf? A sprig of parsley? A little effort goes a long, long way.
Perhaps it's unfair to judge this place on the food: it doesn't promote itself as a gourmet cafe, but a coffee specialist. (Although in which case why is it called Speakeasy? Shouldn't it be an alcoholic bar? God I'm confused). So fine, I had an iced latte. And perfectly nice it was too . . . but not enough to send me running back, especially not when it was served in a sodding thimble and cost £2.70.
To add insult to injury, they appear to have hired the dopiest waitress of all time. She had to ask my friend twice what she wanted to drink (a distinctly uncomplicated orange juice) and then forgot to bring it over. I wish serving staff would just accept that not everybody has the memory of an elephant, and bow down to the joys of a notepad. Nobody will think badly of you if you write it down. But they will think you're an idiot if you attempt to memorise the entire table's order and then come back twice to check half the items.
By the time it came to pay, we had a conversation which went around in circles. We weren't splitting the bill evenly but had worked out in advance who owed what. We put cash on the table and told her I would pay the balance on my card, but she ignored us completely, panicked and tried to divide it up, first in her head and then dashing off to find a calculator, despite me sitting there holding out my credit card and repeating "I want to pay the balance, it's £8" until I was blue in the face.
It looked like they might have some nice pastries indoors but I don't think I'll bother returning to find out.
Best coffee so far in London. They stock skim milk which makes me happy. Flat white was beaut.
Excellent expresso served by the friendliest people! Really, truly the staff here are the best and if the great coffee doesn't perk you up, the smiling faces will!
The shop is tucked on a side street from the bustle on Carnaby St which makes it a perfect escape while shopping in the area. They have some tasty food options too - freshly made sandwiches and pastries to drool over (try the plum cake).
Speakeasy easily ranks in my top list of coffee houses alongside some of the other places I like in the area: Kaffiene, Taylor St, Flat White
I admit I'm a bit of a coffee snob. It's not my fault; I blame my parents. I'm sure it probably happens to anyone who grows up with parents in the coffee industry. It's probably not that common that a person can make a perfect latte on a professional grade espresso machine before knowing how to drive a car. (At least it wasn't in 1990), so when I go into a coffee shop, I expect people working there to be at least somewhat knowledgeable about coffee. I'm also a huge fan of local coffee shops instead of the "big three" you can find almost everywhere in the UK.
So imagine my surprise when I have this conversation at Speakeasy:
"What sort of coffee is your filter coffee?"
"We do a cold brew." (At this point I'm confused, cold brew is not the same as filter coffee, and in fact they have both brew methods on their menu. However, it's been a hot couple of weeks, so I figure maybe that's how they're doing them because of the heat. Or something.)
"Okay, what sort of coffee is your cold brew?"
"Let me show you. It's this," and she shows me a small carafe of cold brew coffee concentrate, "and we add water."
"Yes, but what sort of coffee beans do you use?"
*confused look on her face*
"The type of beans? You use to make the cold brew? What kind are they?"
She asks another guy working there. He points to the pump pots of coffee and she says, "Oh, it's the Yirgacheffe like over there."
"Great!" (as I love Yirgacheffe.) I point directly to the pump pot. "I will have that then."
A few minutes go by, and then I say, "Wait, so what's the difference between what's in the pots over there and the cold brew?"
The guy answers me, "Oh that's a hot filter coffee and the other is done with the cold brew."
In my head I'm going nuts at this point, "Can I have that please?"
The woman says, "Oh, I thought you wanted a cold brew."
"No, I asked for a filter coffee, and you told me you did cold brew."
Needless to say, they got me a cup of the filter coffee. And I had an almond croissant. And they were both really tasty. I even have a second cup when the waiter asks if I want one. (But watch out, they charge for an additional cup of filter coffee. If I had known, I would probably have tried the cappuccino. I mean, they must make a fortune on filter coffee if they don't give free refills.)
So, it's a bit mixed for me and Speakeasy. The venue itself is pretty basic as well. That whole, "less-is-more" decorating style (meaning that they couldn't be bothered to put in much effort). A few of the staff are knowledgeable, but clearly there needs to be a bit more training for some of them. The food looked nice, and next time I go I might have a cup of coffee and some toast instead.
Well, another coffee place has set up shop in Soho. Joining the likes of Fernandez and Wells, Flat White, Foxcroft and Ginger and of course the many Starbucks' and Neros.
I did actually like the coffee here and the staff are bright and smiley - unlike staff at other establishments. After much deliberation, and now having a permanent caffeine high from going back and forth between Foxcroft and Ginger and Speakeasy, I can say I enjoy the coffee better at Speakeasy, BUT the all rounder award (inclusive of food) still goes to Foxcroft.
The food at Speakeasy is good, but you can't beat the fact that at Foxcroft, the bread is made fresh on site. But, there's also a lot better and wider selection of beverages at Speakeasy, and they do a cold drip brew.
Definitely a place to go to for coffee, and a nice place for food, and a GREAT set of baristas. Now, basically, I've got two main places to go for coffee in soho, in two different directions. Headed south to Picadilly Circus, Foxcroft, headed north to Oxford Circus, Speakeasy. Yippee!!
As you can tell from the storefront, once you're on Lowndes Court, Speakeasy is significantly more obvious than its appellation might lead you to believe. Also, unlike the original speakeasies of the Prohibition era, this one doesn't serve up illegal alcoholic beverages.
However, there's an easy vibe to the cosy space, a counter-height shared table a la St. Ali's in the back, and some of the more amiable, engaging baristas in town. All things one might expect from the sister coffeeshop to Leather Lane's Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.
At the recommendation of the staff, I had a piccolo for takeaway and it satisfied my craving for a quick shot of pick-me-up. Sandwiches (prepared in Farringdon) and cakes (sourced from local bakers) also offer eye-catching temptations to the peckish.
Speakeasy is a comfortable not-so-hidden getaway from the heavy retail traffic of Carnaby Street, and I hope it succeeds in the dense caffeination station destination of Soho.
As Kevin L. pointed out, Speakeasy is just off a main drag in the Carnaby St area, and, therefore, one feels far enough away from the bustle of shoppers at this coffee spot.
I went in at a quiet time, was attended to straight away by a friendly, mustachioed chap, and then sat at a window seat to await my piccolo. It was well made, if, however, too milky for my taste.
I sat comfortably for a spell, sipping and nibbling on dark chocolate (the baked goods looked amazing, but I wasn't in the mood) purchased from Liberty, before plunging back into the crowd and making my way toward Charing Cross.
London is quite blessed these days with good coffee places, but that is something you can never have too many of. Especially in a place like central London. Speakeasy opened silently about 5 weeks ago just off Carnaby street, a welcome additional sanctuary away from the tourist central that is Oxford Circus.
Fairly spacious inside, light wood surfaces abound, it feels quite open. Still not swamped with people from Carnaby shopping yet, it's not too hard to grab a seat on the weekend.
Coffee is good but for me it lacks depth. Maybe I've become spoiled by some of the other excellent coffee places in the area.
After re visiting the place that inspired my flat white tour. I still think this is the best flat white in the area. Also the atmosphere in this place is nice and relaxed. The staff are friendlier than the other I'm to cool to smile coffee houses I've visited. Love it, now I just need it to move to north London!
Excellent coffee! Quick service. Good size cafe. Far enough away from Oxford St to not be too hectic. Delicious cakes and deli style sandwiches. Favourites include the tomato and mozzarella foccacia and the plum cake.
Nice and cosy little coffee house, but the service was slow, bad and I would not recommend this to anyone who doesn't have all day to wait for a coffee. After a 15 minute wait for our coffee, diet coke and two toasted sandwiches I went up to the counter to ask what happened to our order. Turns out the sandwiches had been on the toaster for the whole time, forgotten! They offered us the sandwiches and drinks on the house, so we accepted, even though they were a bit overdone. However, we never got the coffee and after another 10 minute wait we gave up and left. Awful service to say the least. Nice atmosphere though and since the neighbouring couple also didn't get their coffees we ended up chatting to people around us experiencing the same dire service.
Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar seems to be kind of an arty place with interesting paintings in brights colours on the walls. I discovered this shop on Saturday by chance, when I was walking around and looking for a nice place for a coffee. It's a light place with a good atmosphere and nice staff. Erik might be right, that the coffee lacks some depth, but I'm not sure about that. What I am sure about is, that I really liked my cup! So far, I would say that this is the best place for a coffee around Carnaby Street. But yet, there are some other very good and probably better coffee places around in Soho. Another interesting fact about Speakeasy could be, that they're part of something called The Coffeesmiths Collective (coffeesmithscollective.c… ). I haven't heard of this company or collective or what it is before, but perhaps it's worth to mention.
Really great coffee, well rounded taste in all formats but my favourite is their piccolo, a mini-milk over espresso glass, expertly made. The grilled cheese sandwiches look proper.
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