Ozone Coffee Roasters is rather shockingly, a coffee roastery and café just south of Old Street, right in the heart of that ES mag darling and odious political trophy of the future, "The Silicon Roundabout".
Rather than being a slick urban Auckland operation like Allpress (or indeed Melbourne’s St Ali) they’re actually from the small Kiwi city of New Plymouth. It’s hard to imagine a similar sized place in the UK (Dewsbury, Rugby or Cheshunt to name a few) having such a serious, global approach to coffee.
The space is a cavernous one, with a nice mix of industrial lighting and metal, plenty of exposed brick and a lot of wood too. The counter is particularly long and impressive, although it was somewhat lacking in the usual tempting display of baked goods which cafés of this genre carefully position within grasp and whiff.
So with the regular sandwiches a bit lacklustre, I had no alternative than to go for the steak sandwich (£12.50) from the brunch menu. Said menu is also correctly very egg heavy – those with a sweet tooth might like the orange and cardamom French toast with rose honey and mascarpone – but it also has that Antipodean brunch renegade, the steak sandwich.
Peppery, juicy chunks of steak, given even more piquancy with piles of rocket, were served on sourdough with a mature cheddar so tangy and sharp, it could have been Keen’s or Quickes. This was extremely well-seasoned, with salt, pepper and marinade from the steak ensuring a lot of flavour.
Chips were tasty – skin on and in a little tin pot (which I've always liked, inexplicably) but could have been a little crispier.
My long black (£2) to go was very good too, with a great head of crème and a deep, nutty taste. My one tiny niggle is that purist Antipodean long blacks are much lesser in liquid than Americanos. I accept that. But this one was about 150ml which was too small I thought, even if correct.
Overall I really liked Ozone. It’s a cool space, the staff were very friendly and the offering is pretty wide. The vibe is a bit more welcoming and accessible than St Ali I think, which can be a bit distracted and inefficient.
And all this from a small-town Kiwi outfit! I'm impressed. I hope word spreads and we get some more of their exports, perhaps next from my favourite foodie city, Wellington? London could easily take a Mojo, Plum Café or Midnight Espresso.
And if the coffee wasn’t good enough (or liquid enough) they serve Meantime Pale Ale on draught. This pig is sold...
Food – 8/10
Drink – 9/10
Service - 8/10
Value – 7/10
Tap water tales – 9/10 (brought straight away in a vintage Kiwi beer bottle)
Staff Hotness – 9/10 (cute, inked-up Kiwi waitresses and two hot barista boys)