Ginger & White have opened their third outlet in a little alleyway in Soho. It’s in a familiar position to the original alleyway spot in Hampstead, come to think of it, but does feel a little more relaxed, and with markedly less buggies.
These guys have been a saviour in Hampstead for quite a while now. For such an affluent, pleasant area, it’s always been quite devoid of interesting eating and drinking options, and certainly coffee. Yes, every chain is there, and yes there are a few independent fusty old timer restos lurking, but Hampstead’s offerings are generally not as good as they should be.
Enter Ginger & White, about three years ago, their twist on the Antipodean-inspired coffee revolution being that whilst the coffee ethos was firmly in the Down Under mould, the rest of the business was British and proud. Cue lots of Union Flags, scones, teas, sausage rolls and so forth. Coffee credit where it’s due, but our baked goods are far superior to Australia’s and New Zealand’s, and yes I’m including pies.
But Soho is quite a different beast, and not a small pond. There is decent coffee in every direction. Within a two minute walk from this location, there is Fernandez and Wells (x2), Café Gourmand, Speakeasy, Foxcroft & Ginger, Flat White, Sacred, Fairgrounds, Joe & The Juice, vida e caffé and countless others just a tad further afield. Not to mention that weird, intimidating bookshop/café diagonal from here full of yappy luvvies and their yappy dogs.
So it’s a tough market where only quality and something different pass muster, – but it’s a big market too. On the whole, I think Ginger & White should be a success here.
It’s cosy in a way that Fernandez & Wells’ starkness doesn’t provide, so I can foresee people lingering over cake. It's not sceney like Flat White, and the staff are very welcoming. The food offering is excellent and varied – many of the better coffee shops offer fancy £6 sandwiches with fancy ingredients, but Ginger & White’s bacon and cheese scone is a true destination piece of grub.
And crucially, its long black is perfectly executed – short, strong and with a consistency bordering on treacle, with Square Mile beans: