After opening a successful Café in Tokyo two years ago, global affairs magazine Monocle has finally decided to open a London branch.
Monocle is a high quality publication and this is reflected in the café. Located on Chiltern Street in the heart of Marylebone, everything from the chocolates accompanying your brew, to the serving trays have been meticulously selected to complement the brand.
The pastries, which were good but pricey, are sourced from Lanka the pastry shop owned by former Le Gavroche chef Masayuki Hara. The coffee is excellent and is provided by Allpress Espresso, a Shoreditch based roaster. My espresso was short and intense and my latte was smooth and warming. Again my one quibble is the price.
The décor, as anyone who reads Monocle would expect, is sleek and stylish and inspired by the Nordic designs the magazine fawns over. The space is fairly small and despite the fact I visited a day before the official opening, I was lucky to get a seat.
The back of the café is home to a lounge area which contains a selection of broadsheets, a television (Al Jazeera was on) and a number of paintings produced by someone who shares Monocle Editor, Tyler Brûlé’s family name…
A Good Place to Write?
The Monocle Café was not designed as a place for writers to bed down for a few hours. For one there is a real lack of appropriate surfaces to place a laptop on. In addition, the small size could well make it a real challenge to secure a seat. The lounge area might look like a good hideaway during quiet business hours, but Monocle’s radio station plays quite loudly making it difficult to concentrate.
All in all a great if pricey addition to London’s coffee culture, but sadly not one I will be heading to when I need a place to write.
The Essential Details
Price for a single espresso at the bar: £2.50
Free Wifi: Yes (although it was not working during my visit)
The Monocle Café
18 Chiltern Street
Marylebone, W1U 7QA