Saturday, 21 July 2012

Welcome to the new power generation!

I'm back after another lengthy hiatus, and hope to be furnishing you with some fantastic posts in the coming weeks. so let me kick of with one about a rather impressive coffee shop i happened upon the other day on a trip I made to Moss Bros in Covent Garden to hire a morning suit...

24 New Row
Nestling very unobtrusively between on a pedestrianised track between St Martin’s Lane and Garrick Street, New Row Coffee is one of many artisan coffee shops that seem to be popping up around London as a number of people seek something a little different from the isipid and watery brew available from many of the mainstream coffee shops around the capital. 
I would be a dreadful hypocrite if I took too much of a snobbish attitude to the coffee giants because I do frequent them  quite a lot and the staff in the Starbucks on Horseferry Road don’t even have to ask me before they label the cup with my name. However, it is great to have something different every once in a while to break up the monotony. New Row Coffee offers a welcome change. 
Really not much more than a hole in the wall, New Row offer a couple of cramped tables and some stools directly in front of the bar. It is light and airy with a clean, trendy feel. The metal tables and chairs go well with the polished oak of the bar, half of which is filled with a delicious looking array of cakes, pastries and a small array of sandwiches. 
The coffee menu is surprisingly simple yet manages to capture all market favourites including the ever-so-trendy ‘flat white’ which seems to have become as popular in our fair country as it is in its true home down under. I am something of a purist however and would never sully my coffee with hot milk so it was going to be - as it always is - a cup of strong black coffee. 
The chap behind the counter was a bohemian American, with something of the ageing hippy about him adding to the superficial charm that had originally drawn me to the establishment. Rather than just go through the motions he drew my attention to the guest coffee that was on offer, an indonesian blend of some sort promising notes of cinnamon, toast and vanilla  - all of which was lost on me, but I admired his sales technique and gamely plumped for this taste of the Eastern tropics. 
The barista used a technique of drip filtration which is starting to grow in popularity in artisan coffee shops, a process by which hot water is poured manually over the ground coffee through a paper filter. The resultant brew is more delicate and the gradual filtration lets the flavour of the coffee permeate more evenly in the liquid. He informed me that this method would take 5 minutes, and having a short space of time to fill I thought I would inspect the sandwiches he had to offer. 
The white, springy roll filled with prosciutto, manchego cheese and fig confit was delicious with a generous filling in which the ingredients successfully complemented each other. Other combinations where less my cup of tea: turkey and brie and goats cheese with onion marmalade but I am sure they were delicious if you like that sort of thing.
But the real test should be in the coffee and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed, rich and heavy it had none of the bitterness that I associate with much of the coffee that I buy from shops. The barista obviously knew what he was doing and his manual methods had saved the coffee from being scalded as it it so often is in one of those hulking steam machines behind the counter! 
It is well worth the visit and I would urge you to pop in if you find yourself in the area and in need of a high quality caffeine fix! 

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