Caffeina launches in Tower Hill
At the time of writing, Caffeina has served 635 cups of coffee. We know this because the staff are keeping a running tally to work out just how many smiles they’ve put on grumpy morning faces. It’s a small detail, but in this business the little things make all the difference.
The team behind Caffeina seem to understand this better than most. The staff possess the kind of affability that puts the staged friendliness of major chains to shame. Care has obviously been taken to design genuinely delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten free alternatives, which is refreshing change to the usual token gestures. Even the menus, hand draw in flowing script on rollers of recycled card, speak of a business that isn’t afraid to go the extra mile.
The coffee itself benefits immensely from such an attitude. The blend we tried was a world away from what the chains next door would offer. Rich and smooth, it’s serving in a tall cappuccino glass with a good head of creamy foam. It was accompanied by a truly delightful chocolate cantuccini, which we can’t praise enough. Pleasantly sweet, without ever tending towards cloying, its perfectly crisp texture were enhanced with gratuitously large chunks of orange scented chocolate. A perfect partner to both their house coffee and to the excellent Ronnefeldt tea that’s on offer here.
Pastries and beverages are just one side of the story though: the restaurant also offers an excellent lunch menu. Pesto, freshly prepared on-site like many of the components used in Caffeina’s dishes, is overflowing with floral and evergreen notes that pair wonderfully with the richness of pine nuts and parmesan. The pasta is perfectly cooked: al dente for salad dishes and yieldingly soft for the vegetarian lasagne. The latter dish’s clever use of aubergine is another example of the obvious effort put into creating great dishes for every type of diner.
Caffeina also boasts an impressively ethical policy. In a bid to avoid the unnecessarily wasteful bottled water market, they provide free filtered water in reusable cups. Not only does this help to cut down on their carbon footprint, it also saves time and money for everyone involved, not least because the cafe claims to knock 10p off every cup of coffee as a sign of gratitude towards their customer’s understanding.
Usually, this is the point in the review where we lament the fact that quality often comes with an inflated price tag. Except a cappuccino here is £1.90. Better still, a relatively generous wedge of moist carrot cake is sold at a highly competitive £2…
With its perfect fusion of rural authenticity and effortless Italian elegance, Caffeina seems destined for success. Expect to see more branches opening in the near future.
For more information about Caffeina, 7 Byward St, Tower Hill, EC3R 5AS, call 020 7621 1587 or click here.