palate cleanser

Pritchard + Ure (Camden Garden Centre)

Pritchard + Ure is a café and brunch spot on the mezzanine level of the Camden Garden Centre, an idyllic horticultural megastore just off the Regent’s Canal. The clientele is just as one would expect from a garden centre – mostly older folk who own houses with enough space for plants. Thus it would seem weird that a café in the style of an East London hipster joint would open in such a place. After all, isn’t the typical cafegoer an active, apartment-sharing, beanie-wearing bearded millennial?

Andreas, one of the baristas and managers of Pritchard + Ure disagrees. Part of their mission is to bring third wave coffee culture to a whole new audience. As an independent concept, it does seem quite appealing. Go to a garden centre, relax in the tranquil, fresh air bathed in natural light. Talk to a barista and they are nice and friendly. Some people who run cafes can be slightly unapproachable, if not snooty unless you speak their ‘language’ of coffee.

But of course, Pritchard + Ure’s business is coffee, not therapy, and it suffices to say the coffee itself is delicious. The beans are roasted by award-winning Workshop Coffee in Clerkenwell, but the espresso machine is manually operated. This means a human being has to time the pull of the espresso shot him/herself, instead of dialling the desired settings into a small computer. Go for a six ounce coffee with milk, the equivalent of a flat white. Not only does the coffee taste completely different from that at Workshop (oilier, more full bodied with dried prune flavours), they double the amount of beans used as well. This makes for a very balanced cup of coffee, in I daresay the only coffee shop in London designed for non-coffee drinkers to enjoy.

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