11 September 2015

Earlsfield coffee review: part two

Our intrepid reviewer Rob continues his journey through Earlsfield in search of the perfect flat white. If you missed the first part, catch up here.

 Rob's coffee review part two

Sunday morning took us to Mel’s (www.foodandfuel.co.uk/our-pubs/mels-vintage-beats-breakfast-earlsfield) – an Earlsfield institution that has a loyal following and a retro vibe.  Mel’s on a Sunday morning seems to be attracting the hangover crowd and the jug of Bloody Mary on the bar shows that they know how to satisfy their demographic. 

The flat white, brewed with (in my opinion) lesser quality Musetti beans, was not great (with that slightly burnt taste you often get at coffee chains like Starbucks) and lacked the flair of the quality coffees we had sampled the day before but to be honest, Mel’s isn’t really about the coffee.  It’s about stacks of pancakes for breakfast and burgers and hotdogs and a buzzy, friendly vibe sound tracked by an 80s playlist. 
Mel's flat white with Musetti beans
Having said that, if Mel’s invested in some decent coffee beans and sent their bar staff on barista training then it would be a killer combination.

Our next stop was further south down Garratt Lane to Desserts Caffe (www.dessertscaffe.com),   a recent addition to the Earlsfield cafe scene and sister establishment to the just opened Meat Rack (wings, burgers etc) next door.  I had followed Desserts Caffe on Twitter as they were approaching their launch and the enthusiasm and friendly vibe that came through on social media is in evidence when you visit the cafe. 

A bit like Mel’s though, this place is not about the coffee, it’s about giant ice cream sundaes and waffles and tempting cakes.  The flat white we ordered was actually a giant milky latte in a mug – it was a bit old school actually and will probably appeal to those people who have not embraced the smaller, stronger “3rd wave” milky coffees and still like their Venti, extra hot lattes.  While it was a bit too large and milky for me, it was really nice sitting in the window and watching the great and the good of Earlsfield wander by.

Desserts Caffe flat white
I really want this place to survive because they seem like really nice people and not everywhere needs to be a trendy, hipster joint with a tattooed, bearded, barista – so next time I need a sugar fix I will head to Desserts Caffe (but will be buying a take away coffee from Bean & Hop on the way...).

Our final stop and a return to coffee excellence was Ben’s Canteen (www.benscanteen.com).  Back in my days as a blogger in 2011, I reviewed the newly opened Ben’s Canteen on St John’s Hill and loved it. 

Ben was a really nice guy and he showed how important coffee was to him by getting the (much missed) Rob from the Brewed Boy coffee cart to run the espresso machine.  So you can imagine how stoked I was to hear that Ben was opening outpost number two in Earlsfield!  Ben’s is a great venue – albeit directly opposite my other favourite coffee/breakfast hangout Bean & Hop (I divide my loyalties) and our visit on Sunday introduced us to their latest decor addition, a giant mirrored heart with red neon lights around it...love it. 

The flat whites here are slightly larger than the standard but are expertly made, using Allpress beans (like Belle Amie) and perfectly steamed milk for a lovely smooth, rich flattie with just the right hint of acidity. 
Ben's Canteen Allpress flat white
 Ben’s is super cool and is always buzzy – a perfect spot for a relaxed brunch with a regular supply of the aforementioned flat whites and “The Big Ben” full breakfast  but equally a great place for a delicious evening out.  I particularly love their “posh fried chicken burger” and I noticed that they are advertising a champagne and oyster night on the 12th of September – sounds like my kinda evening!

So with my faith in the Earlsfield coffee scene secure, we took our caffeine ravaged bodies back home...and turned on the espresso machine.

Massive thanks to Rob for his comprehensive coffee coverage! Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.


  1. This is really a wonderful post.

  2. Thanks, Rob. Great review. Exciting times in Earlsfield!