At the moment I am a lady of leisure. Waiting for my permanent residency to be processed and unable to work I have plenty of time on my hands to sample the delights of London’s best coffee shops and cafes.
Fire Roasted Cafe’s
When I arrived in London, my first coffee stop was Fire Roasted on the corner of Talbot and King. On a freezing cold and dreary December morning the delicious aroma emanating from the historic building lured us in and the warm atmosphere and crispy, sugar coated blueberry fritters kept us there.
Since then I have been a regular of the various Fire Roasted cafe’s each with their own unique vibe but all with the same great coffee and friendly relaxed service. In Fire Roasted on King there’s almost always a couple of people working away on their laptops at the window benches or friends meeting for a catch up. The atmosphere is industrious yet chilled.
Fire Roasted in Wortley Village is located in a modern renovated building and makes the most of its unconventional shape with mix and match wooden and modern furniture, some interesting art and the same window benches for people watching. The atmosphere is a little more village cafe owing to its location and has a steady stream of yummy mummies, retirees and yogi’s looking for their post yoga cup of matcha.
Fire Roasted in Old East Village is located in another renovated historic building that also houses Old East Village Grocer and an incubator for small artisanal traders, including Fire Roasted’s own Roastery. The cafe has a down to earth ambience and there is always a colourful character to sit and chat with. Fire Roasted offers a selection of 30+ coffee blends from South America and Africa, a large selection of teas and hand made artisanal snacks with organic and vegan options.
London Bicycle Cafe
London Bicycle Cafe is a two in one business with a bike shop at the back and an unpretentious chilled out cafe at the front. The bike shop is unintimidating and sells urban bikes, cargo bikes and Brompton fold-ups as well as providing an in-house bike repair service.
The cafe serves delicious Rosso Coffee and is one of the only coffee shops in London hand pouring drip coffee, each cup made with love by the highly experienced baristas. There are comfy sofa’s, a hand built window bench and one of a kind bike related paintings adorning the walls.
The food menu includes Boho Bakeshop donuts, Petit Paris Bakery biscotti, scones and pain au chocolat as well as freshly made sandwiches from OEV Grocer. The cafe also has an amazing lunch combo special – fresh sandwich, cookie and coffee for just $10.
To read more about London Bicycle Cafe click here
London Bicycle Cafe, 355 Clarence Street, London ON
10Eighteen Coffee Bar
10Eighteen is a family owned coffee bar on Dundas in Old East Village that opened in November 2016. It’s one of only a handful of cafe’s in London serving fresh pour over coffee (Trebilcock) while you wait at the counter and chat, a personal touch I love. The space was an old laundromat that the owners carefully renovated to achieve a simple and modern yet rustic and homely interior. There a benches and tables for socialising or working and an indoor bike rack at the rear for safe and dry storage while you enjoy your beverage of choice.
10Eighteen offers a small selection of tea, juices, kombucha and local brewed ale. Food options range from brownies, tarts and croissants to a mean looking charcuterie board (meat, cheese and kids options) that is on special offer ($8 off a large portion) on Monday nights. 10Eighteen is a lovely coffee bar with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and a focus on positive customer experience. It’s a great addition to up and coming Old East Village and is open early (7am) until late (9pm) most days so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy it.
Check the 10Eighteen website for opening times and social media for special offers and events.
Hasbeans is a family owned and operated coffee roaster and retailer that was established in London, Ontario in 1969. As you walk in the main doors of Covent Garden Market Hasbeans is the first merchant on the right hand side and offers an array of coffee from Africa, South America and Asia. They have tasty standard options and a weekly special.
Recently I tried the medium blend Panama and I am now addicted. Hasbeans also offers some mean looking cookies but it is really all about the coffee. They produce small batches in their own micro roaster and can even make you your own customised blend if you’re looking for something specific. Grab a coffee, have a walk around the market or take a seat in one of the communal seating areas.
Visit Hasbeans in Covent Garden Market or buy online at hasbeans.ca
Black Walnut Bakery Cafe
Black Walnut Bakery Cafe is an independent family business and has two locations in London, one in Wortley village and one on Richmond Row. Entering the door of either Black Walnut you will be greeted enthusiastically by one of the lovely servers and while you’re thinking about which of the delicious coffee blends to have you will be confronted with the chiller. It is baked goods heaven and not for the faint hearted.
White cheddar scones, chocolate banana bread, lemon cake, coffee cake, butter tarts, walnut chocolate chip pancake muffins, cookies, date slices, croissants and that’s just the sweet side. Entrees include quiche, frittata, pot pie, Jamaican patty, sausage rolls, spinach pie, sandwiches, soup and salads . Everything is made entirely from-scratch, in house and handcrafted, including the coffee which is roasted at the Richmond location.
Both branches have indoor and outside seating but refreshingly neither have wifi, preferring for patrons to converse and socialise. Black Walnut also offers a comprehensive catering service for any occasion and special pre-order menu’s for holiday celebrations. I will be ordering a box of Pumpkin Spice Custard Cruffins for our family Thanksgiving at the cottage in a few weeks.