[London] Never mind this café was once a Victorian toilet. It is an unavoidable fact that a part of Attendant’s allure is its subterranean set up.
You would find it near impossible to walk by the signage, the ornately constructed, black painted awning that signals your descent into the warm, crepuscular café.
It was an abandoned underground toilet, with the original porcelain urinals still around, converted to be part of the table that you drink your coffee from.
When you think about how valuable central London real estate is, it is a wonder that more establishments have not found sanctuary in basements and the underground treasure troves such as this one.
Nevertheless, the Attendant café has found its space and has made itself felt.
The café, to a certain extent, proves that less can be, indeed, more.
Unlike the other café’s in the neighbourhood, in the wider Fitzrovia area, who tend to adorn larger windows that reveal their interiors readily and proudly, you need to walk down into Attendant to find out what is within.
This is a nifty café, the kind that makes the most of a relatively small space, and coheres to a preference for a dining experience that is intimate and sincere.
There should then be no surprise that the entrepreneurs behind The Attendant, Bosh McKeown and Ryan De Oliveira, envisaged a café experience that heralded the bringing of people together, to share thoughts and indulge in innovative menus.
But all this is not at the cost of sustainability.
From the food that is put before you to the coffee that is poured, Attendant pays attention to responsible sourcing and high-quality products.
Espresso blends are delectably made from Attendant’s Marzocco Linea, and the single origin filters through the ever popular AeroPress for exceptional smoothness.
I ordered a robust Kenyan espresso (£2.20, SGD4) that had a dulcet feel to the palate, with a cocoa bitterness in aftertaste.
Without milk, it had an unadulterated softness that lent well to a ponderous sip.
For food, I ordered a plate of generously portioned Maldon smoked salmon (£7.50, SGD13.90), a vibrant orange hue, on a persuasive porcini and truffle cream cheese bed that covered a crisp multigrain toast.
Pea shoots and red amaranth added some lusciousness in garnish, and completed the dish that was both substantial and light at the same time.
Since it opened in 2013, Attendant has become known for its superior coffee, intelligent brewing and friendly service. Those who tend to visit this café, more often than not, find themselves to be regulars at a spot so close to Oxford Street.
If you ever need a welcoming place that is separated from the hubbub of the London streets, desire great coffee, or simply to spend quality time with your mates in a relaxed atmosphere, Attendant should be your destination.
Other Attendant Cafes
Attendant Cafe – Shoreditch
74 Great Eastern Street London, EC2A 3JL
Tel: 0207 729 0052
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm (Mon – Fri), 9am – 6pm (Sat – Sun)
Attendant Cafe – Clerkenwell
75 Leather Lane London, EC1N 7TJ
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 5:30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun
* Written by DFD’s London Food Correspondent Leander Dias SaltyCritic. Leander Dias was born and raised in Dubai, a burgeoning city with diverse food culture. Since moving to London to read for his English MA at UCL, he has utterly immersed himself in the local food scene, writing extensively about everything he eats everywhere he goes. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.