Reviews and Awards
WHAT'S ON MAGAZINE - "COFFEE SHOP OF THE YEAR"
COFFEE SHOP OF THE YEAR AWARD The first known coffee house in London opened in 1652. Nowadays, London is coffee house city. Ubiquitous and corporate in style, the new breed of coffee-terieas, like the Seattle-based Starbucks, serves oceans of musty brown liquid in bucket-sized mugs. Is a 90 per cent milk drink coffee? In search of the true cup – fresh, hot, stringently aromatic and with a velvety ‘crema’ on top we took a caffeine break and discovered the best brews are served by the independents, with our Coffee shop of the Year Award going to a little coffee house in Charing Cross Road. Caffè Vergnano 62 Charing Cross Road WC2 – Here’s coffee for connoisseurs – the only Caffè Vergnano outlet in the UK. No wonder Italians flock here for an Espresso like mamma makes. Every single cup at the friendly family-run café is lovingly prepared on a gleaming Elektra machine and served as if it were a work of art by Michelangelo. Espresso is consistently full-bodied, with a velvety crema, rich flavour and long, resonant finish. It transforms elegantly in milk, with each Cappuccino rounded off on top by the Vergnano ‘1882’ pattern. Americano here is as rich and inviting as the Espresso. Best in town – 10/10.
GILES COREN - sunday times
Only moments ago, wedged down the back of the big flowery sofa (which I really must get around to re-upholstering), I found the loyalty card for Caffè Vergnano, the only purveyor of food or drink in the world past whose premises I am truly unable to walk without entering. I’ve been meaning to write about it for months, years, but it just got forgotten under all the clutter. It’s just a coffee shop on Charing Cross Road, on the east side as you walk down towards Trafalgar Square, but it happens to sell the best coffee I’ve ever drunk, anywhere. The espresso machine itself is an astonishing thing – an Elektra Belle Epoque – which looks like Flash Gordon must have crash-landed in it here, many aeons ago. To watch the guy raising the cup to eye level to leak, ever so slowly, the frothed milk from jug into coffee so that it rises with a perfect rosetta to the rim, and then see him print “1882” on the rich surface with chocolate is to witness a rare devotion. But a simple espresso served on a pewter tray with a small bitter chocolate and a glass of cold water (to make each mouthful of coffee as rousing as the first) is perhaps a purer expression of the spirit of the bean. Go, for the Lord’s sake. Travel whatever hundreds of miles you must, just for a cup of coffee. It’s worth it. And double worth it.
GORDON RAMSAY - the RESTOURANT show
We were very privileged indeed to have the country’s most celebrated chef, Gordon Ramsay, visit our stand. We showed him how we make the coffee, and we were very interested to hear his thoughts, not least because he was the first to formally try our coffee from the new on-demand grinder. We certainly felt the tension of the moment, because the Restaurant Show’s television crew happened to be on hand to film the chef’s judgement for posterity. Although we hasten to add that we have no sponsorship arrangement with Mr. Ramsay, and his personal judgement should in no-way be taken as an endorsement of our product, we were obviously extremely delighted to hear his verdict: “A remarkably sublime coffee.”