(Photography by Adam Rhoades)
Wow! Could have been named after me!
This is a fabulous new coffee shop just off Trafalgar Square and close to Leicester Square – practically opposite the National Portrait Gallery. It’s on 31 St Martins Lane and I was delighted to get down to visit today. Get this! It’s open until ten pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday! That’s a bit of a change for a London independent coffeeshop.
The guy behind the store is Brazilian Fabio Henrique Ferreira who has run the highly rated Flat Cap coffee stall in the Strutton Ground street market near Victoria for some time. Fabio has the good taste to be a former bass guitarist (I’m still hoping to get him playing again) and have a passion for great coffee. As a bassist, he studied with the bassist from the fabulous Tres De Paus.
Notes features a range of great coffee, good looking food and audio CDs and DVDs for sale. Previously this location sold CDs and movies and this new venture is a collaboration between the owner of the music shop and the barista. A recnet change of listing status allowed for a successful remodelling and it’s a store that manages to be the best of several worlds.
It’s an attractively set out room with a range of seating options in a prestigious location, clever use of mirrors helped keep the room bright. When I visited with my family today we spent an hour or so drinking coffees and watching The Triplets of Belleville on the big screen while Beatles classics played over the sound system. The coffee cognoscenti were in attendance. On the next table were Steve Leighton (Mr Hasbean), John Gordon (reigning UK barista champion), Andrew Duncan, Jessica MacDonald and others.
It’s really all about the coffee and the coffee I has was truly excellent. For this initial visit we stayed with espresso based drinks – the La Marzocca machine is something to behold. I had a flat white of the Square Mile Autumn Blend and Lisa had a cortado. I envied her choice as the cortado looked the perfect size. Latte art was good but the surprise was a degree of fruitiness that I hadn’t noticed in that Square Mile blend before (I do like the Autumn blend). I followed up with a Hasbean Kicker espresso which was quite lovely – a real lemony, almost sherbetesque zing to a delicious drink – been lucky enough to have had that blend before courtesy of the wonderful David Robson – it’s a must try!
Next time I have to sit down and go through the range of other coffees and preparation methods: siphon, aeropress, woodneck and more options were available and some seriously attractive coffees. Lisa said that the layout hinted at Intelligentsia and there was definitely a similar attention to detail and craft.
All going fabulously, Notes Music & Coffee consistently excellent. The siphon I had of the Ethiopian Suke Quto from Square Mile was excellent – complex fruity and full-bodied. Make sure you let it cool a while before drinking though. Have to say the service was fabulously prompt and attentive too!
Oh downstairs is now open too with a wider range of jazz and other CDs and a select number of DVDs at sub-Internet prices.