One of the things I miss about living in the UK is visiting my favourite local coffee shops in London and meeting my friends for brunch on a weekend. I discovered The Gentlemen Baristas years ago when they had just one café in Borough and I am happy to see this independent brand grow and add new locations. Last week, my brother Paolo and his wife Elena were at the original Borough coffee house to try their coffee and brunch. Here’s a review they wrote for Mondomulia.
Here in London, we have finally emerged from lockdown 3.0 and the long-awaited “Freedom Day” has granted us the return of our favourite places we’ve missed the most. As we are finally allowed to visit restaurants and food spots inside freely again, we’ve jumped at The Gentlemen Baristas’ invite to taste their brunch menu.
The Gentlemen Baristas are a roastery and coffee house serving sustainable (well-mannered) specialty coffee with nine sites across London. Henry Ayers and Edward Parkes are the founders. They met at The London Coffee Festival in 2011 and three years later decided to open the first Gentlemen Baristas site in Borough, Union Street. They now have nine coffee houses across London, in London Bridge, East India, Hammersmith and Holborn just to name a few.
On the first Saturday morning after the re-opening, we went to their Borough site, as it’s the most convenient for us. The venue is a cosy little place with two floors just minutes away from London Bridge and Borough Market. The first floor is a bar area with couple of tables around and a table outside, while upstairs we found a little luminous “not-so secret” roof terrace.
We wanted to take a moment to appreciate the first warm Spring sunshine, so we asked to be seated outside.
The full brunch is available all-day Wednesday to Sunday at the Borough coffee house. You can find brunch and salads, pastries and of course coffee also in their other locations – check out their website or Instagram page for more information.
Whether you’re in for the classic toast and butter or the much-loved avocado and eggs, you’re sure to find something here to satisfy your taste and to combine it with the excellent coffee!
Good news for coffee lovers, The Gentlemen Baristas coffee roasters sell their own speciality coffee blends that you can buy right away and recreate the same coffee experience at home.
Each coffee blend is identified by a different type of hat portrayed on the fancy packaging, an idea which originated from the neighbouring store (a historical hats shop that sadly is no longer there). If you’re curious about each blend’s origin country and tasting profile, you will find a world plan with pins inside the coffee shop, showing the country from which any given “hat” is sourced.
Going back to the food, for our lavish brunch for two at The Gentlemen Baristas Borough we chose classic combinations of sourdough toast with poached eggs and smoked salmon. The Poached Cacklebean Eggs are covered by micro herbs, served on sourdough toast with housemade spiced tomatoes relish on the side. The relish was slightly spicy and provided the perfect refreshing complement to the eggs.
We also tried the Smoked Salmon Toast with extra poached egg. This dish comes with housemade labneh, cucumber, caperberries, dill and micro herbs.
Both brunch dishes were all delicious and made with high quality ingredients, but we especially enjoyed its presentation. Our toasts looked like a spring garden painting with small flowers just right in your plate. The Gentlemen Baristas’ chefs really nailed the combination of colours and flavours. We quickly devoured the savoury food and moved on to the sweet part of our brunch.
We had a sensational selection of pastries, whether savoury or sweet, to choose from. We were tempted by the banana bread, almond croissants, double chocolate muffins and vegan walnut cake but in the end opted for two traditional pastries.
The classic laminated, buttery croissant and sticky cinnamon bun were all fresh and crunchy and satisfied our sweet cravings.
The Gentlemen Baristas “well mannered” coffee complemented the pastries perfectly! The cappuccino was delicious and looked beautiful too. Served in a ceramic cup and with latte art, it was an excellent final touch of our fulfilling brunch. And such a joy after so many months of takeaway coffees in paper cups!
Overall, we had a lovely brunch experience at The Gentlemen Baristas in Borough. We were impressed by both the welcoming baristas and the food. It’s really rather lovely having brunch outside again!
Words and photos by Paolo Mulè and Elena Kryvunda.
Disclaimer: Paolo and Elena were guests of The Gentlemen Baristas. All opinions are their own.