James Hoffmann Preaches New Gospel at Ace Hotel Coffee Shop

Bulldog Edition
News that the new Ace Hotel in London’s Shoreditch would be setting up its resident coffee shop in collaboration with Square Mile Coffee Roasters brought expectations of groundbreaking brewing techniques, cutting-edge gadgetry and barista performance art.

But Square Mile co-owner James Hoffman dropped the coffee geekery for our meeting at Bulldog Edition, as the Ace’s coffee shop is known. [Read more…]

Fifty Shades of Grey

3 Medium Rare Burgers
Bukowski Grill, London 

The slideshow above contains images of three burgers each ordered medium-rare at Bukowski, an ambitious burger grill squeezed into a shipping container on the upper level of Boxpark in London’s Shoreditch. [Read more…]

My Indefensible Rating of a London Pizza

Story Deli Pizza
3 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch
Margherita Pizza
cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pesto, basil extra virgin olive oil
Charlie Jones Pizza
spicy sausage, tomato passata, Taleggio, Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted red peppers, garlic, chilies, sweet chili sauce

Critics have felt my ranking of the pizza at Story Deli in East London as eighth best in London was wrongheaded. After a long period of soul searching I’ve arrived at the same conclusion, only from the opposite direction. [Read more…]

Princess Burger Transformed Into Prince Meatloaf

Come mid-August I welcome a glass of pink wine or pink lemonade for cool refreshment. But oddly I’m no happy camper when my Provence rosé tastes like old-fashioned lemonade, or when my freshly squeezed lemonade is no sweeter or pulpier than a dry rosé. I’m funny that way.

Same with burgers and meatloaf sandwiches: At their best I love them both. But give me a burger patty with the mealy, mushy consistency of moulded meatloaf and I’m transformed from young&foodish to young&moodish. How fortunate that no one saw this side of me when I, seated solo with no one to the left or right, tried the squashy Aberdeen Angus beef shin burger with foie gras and white truffle mayonnaise (£10.95) at the handsome Princess of Shoreditch pub in London.  [Read more…]

Penny University a London shrine to filter coffee

UPDATE: Penny University to pop down 30 July.

If you want to see a Londoner famous for his temperature control get a little hot and bothered, just tell James Hoffmann in the most noncommittal tone you can muster you thought one of his featured brews from Square Mile Coffee Roasters was “fine” or “okay”. Better still, tell the 2007 World Barista Champion that, upon reflection, you suppose his coffee shop in London’s Shoreditch, Penny University, “fills a hole”.

“Ambivalence,” says Hoffmann, “is a terrible thing”.

Conversely, saying you positively hate his prized Blackburn Estate coffee from Tanzania is likelier than not to make him smile and get his attention. A puritanical shrine to brewed coffee that deprives its would-be disciples of espresso, milk and sugar, Penny University is meant to provoke. And so Hoffmann will take a “definitely hate” over a “sort of like” any day, even if devotion and love are the rightful responses to this groundbreaking, unplugged, pop-up coffee shop. [Read more…]

Rivington burger a rare bit of umami

The image I chose for the twitter profile of @burgermonday is a photograph of a burger that is both remarkable and British.

Why remarkable? Why British? [Read more…]

London EATinerary turns into a food crawl

tom dixon orange clusterTwo dear colleagues would be visiting from LA and I had to plan the meals and coffee breaks for their London stopover. The pressure I felt was considerable: Were these demanding food obsessives coming directly from California and not via Italy my task would have been difficult enough. But knowing they would be arriving with the incomparable flavours of Sicily and Piedmont fresh in their minds made my challenge all the more daunting. [Read more…]

An Albion breakfast bap on every London high street

albion breakfast bapTaking an “f” out of the caffè in his sister Priscilla and brother-in-law Antonio’s Carluccio’s chain, Sir Terence Conran announced plans to open a string of British cafes based on his successful Albion formula: “Typical British caff food, nothing challenging or complicated, just straightforward hearty ingredients and recipes.” In a word, contrived.