Hmm, back at the Wren today for a work meeting, late morning. Offhand reception by the staff, who continued chatting while my colleague and I waited. But at the Wren they do bring the coffee to you rather than making you stand around for it, so our coffees were delivered to our table. My flat white was mediocre, this time around - at the hotter end of the right temp, verging into a little too hot, with messy and somewhat fluffed-up milk on top, and fairly roughly constructed. Texture not great. Definitely not as good as my first or second visits, which is disappointing.
I'm not a big fan of re-purposed church buildings, but The Wren, in the nave St Nicholas Cole Abbey, has got to be one of the nicest, calmest places to drink coffee in London. My mocha was rich without being strong and had lovely velvety texture. No need for sugar, though it did need a quick stir towards the end to re amalgamate it's component parts. Food offering is of a similar high quality: the savoury selection was a bit limited (it's early days for them) but the pastries are delicious and the locally sourced cakes could grace any bake-off competition. Staff are charming and knowledgeable and the environment is just sublime....
I walked in at 1 pm on Thursday, only to be told I had to leave unless I was there for the weekly 45-minute religious talk about to start. That was a surprise, cos it isn't mentioned on their Twitter feed or their website. Heigh-ho. I returned an hour later and ordered a flat white, to enjoy on one of their two comfortable sofas admiring the interior of the church, which dates from before the twelfth century, but remains in the form built (following the Great Fire) under Sir Christopher Wren from 1672. The space is marvellous - a simple, pale stone rectangle, high-ceilinged with light streaming through the clear south windows and the stained-glass east windows by Keith New. I found it very calm and quiet even with a fair number of people deep in conversation around me. Ahhh, and back to my flat white. Simply delicious - a fruity espresso base from Workshop Cult of Done, a pleasing just slightly bitter edge to it, and a good microfoam. Worth taking time over. The food looks all right. An ultra-dark chocolate cake with gooey white icing, a couple of different slices, some pre-packaged sandwiches, a couple of pastries. These apparently come from a mixture of cooks working in home kitchens in Walthamstow, Dulwich etc. It was a little uninspiring and I decided to leave it and lunch elsewhere. The coffee and the space though make this place out of the ordinary, and seriously worthwhile. Do go - but be aware that they shut every Thursday from 1.00 to about 1.45 pm - unless you're there for one of the St Nick's Talks.
Bright new cafe in a refurbished Church round the corner from my office. Flat white was well made, just the right side of bitter (for me - very much to my wife's taste). Crema could perhaps do with a bit more refinement but definitely an excellent start. Large, soaring, open space inside (could do with a big communal table!).
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