71 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3JF
tel: +44 (o)20 7691 1497
"What do you mean you've never heard of Monmouth coffee before?!?" I shrieked as my colleagues shrugged their shoulders. "REALLY?" My life's mission suddenly became clear to me. I would strive to introduce every single soul I knew to a cup of London's best coffee. I was first introduced to Monmouth brew ten years ago at Borough Market. I used to think that was the only place you could get it. Then I discovered the original Monmouth Coffee shop on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden. Oooh, the excitement. But THEN, I found out that Monmouth is all over London. You just have to be a super sleuth and search it out. Lucky for moi, it's on the menu at Fleet River Bakery, just a hop, skip and jump away from my place of work at BBC Bush House. The joy of it.
Fleet River is not all about the Monmouth coffee however (which my colleagues became instant converts to by the way). It is the most fabulous breakfast and lunch spot this side of Holborn station. Breakfast starts at 0700 and includes freshly baked pastries, banana bread and massive bowls of yogurt, fresh fruit and compote. It beats the stale, factory packed crap at Starbucks and other coffee shops by a million miles. Tag on an uber trendy flat white (made with Monmouth beans) and you've got yourself a breakfast of champions.
Lunches at Fleet River Bakery are a splendid treat too. Each day they have a new soup, freshly made sandwiches, a frittata or two and their specialty...quiche. I've tasted the traditional quiche lorraine (fabulous!), a spinach and ricotta number with pine nuts (hello heaven!) and another with tomato and butternut squash, which was very, very good. All of the frittatas and quiches come with the option of salad on the side - and you get a choice of three. Often they have a fresh Greek salad, something with chickpeas, potato something-or-other and lots of leafy greens. If you can't decide, they'll let you have all three. For desserts, you've got your pick of giant slabs of homemade cake, chocolate brownies, and oversized cookies. They also have jars filled with old-fashioned candy such as lemon drops and humbugs. The main level has a couple stools to perch at, but if they're taken, there's a downstairs too. The atmosphere is very chilled with a side of rockabilly. Johnny Cash is often on the stereo - and Tom Waits too. I wish Fleet River Bakery was still a secret, but the queues keep growing by the day. It's easy to see why.