White Cross Street, EC1. Pitch 42. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where I realized for the first time that there was amazing coffee to be had in London. Well, it might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. I clearly remember that crisp February morning a couple of years ago. I spent quite a lot of time in the area at the time and when another place I used to frequent was closed I thought I might as well try this newish place. It didn’t look much to the world, but I remembered some Aussie colleagues of mine having raved about it, so what’s the harm in trying, eh? After that it’s all blank. I remember thinking “what the f*** is this amazing brew? Why haven’t I tried it before toda…” And, yeah, then it’s a blur, followed by a mist and then – blank.
Already then had I slowly started to see the pattern amongst baristas in London; the two camps either favouring Square Mile Coffee Roasters or Monmouth Coffee. To be perfectly honest I can’t remember which sort they used back then, but I know that today it’s Square Mile Coffee that is favoured. Surprising, wouldn’t you say, with a location like that…
This stall has become almost a cult among City workers and artists alike. It doesn’t matter if you come from one of the biggest law firms in England, a bank (which maybe, but just maybe, should have collapsed 18 months ago), from the nearby Barbican or a rather famous music conservatoire on nearby Silk Street. Everyone is queuing like brothers and sisters eagerly awaiting their shot of the thick, brown and perfect nectar on offer by Gwilym Davies or one of his splendidly dexterous baristas. That Gwilym was the World Champion Barista 2009 isn’t a secret to anyone, but that he chooses to keep on promoting this simple stall is a grace to humanity in general and caffeine addicted City dwellers in particular.
Quite obviously I can’t rant about an interior when it comes to Pitch 42, but what is so funny with this place is that White Cross Market is one of the busiest little streets in London around lunchtime. I’m not going to write too much about the surrounding stalls, at least not in this blogg entry, but let me just say that to find a perfect croissant to go with your coffee of choice is not hard. Not hard at all in fact. There is a buzz and an almost electric vibe to White Cross Street around 12.30 that will make any taste buds go wild. All the Worlds kitchens are represented here and most of them are simply outstanding compared to any lunch restaurant in London. Mind you, not all, but most. And the croissant, you wonder? Well, there are so many artisan bakers offering goods from the world of Ceres that I can’t even begin to describe them all. You just have to do what I do when it comes to these things; go there and explore. Don’t be there much later than 1.30pm though since many of the stalls tend to run out of food. In particular in good weather. And if you go, please give my love to Gwilym et. al.