Saturday, 19 November 2011

A review of Nude Espresso

Image from
6 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR
I popped into Nude Espresso on the way home yesterday evening as it seemed to be the only place still open around Spitalfields and Brick Lane to grab coffee and cake at 4.30pm. Although they close at 5 they were happy to serve drinks and cakes and for us to sit in to quickly warm up and refuel.

I had a hot chocolate which was rich without being sickly and they didn’t mess around with cream or marsh mellows, which I always turn down. My other half went for a flat white which was well poured, even though by a trainee. Their house blend seemed quite mellow with the warmed milk, although I did have an iced coffee from here back in the summer which packed a bit more of a punch.

They source, roast and blend their own coffee beans which you can buy for yourself and they also sell them wholesale to other businesses. With their roastery around the corner in the old cooperage yard of the Truman Brewery, the grind all goes on in the East End now, but the business has retained distinctive elements of its Kiwi heritage.

Image by @GarethReidPhoto
To accompany our drinks, we had a lamington, the presence of which pretty much made my day. A dream of vanilla sponge rolled in chocolate icing then desiccated coconut, I have never seen a lamington in the UK before, despite them being 10 a penny in Australia and New Zealand.

Their menu seems to revolve around cakes and breakfast which makes it pretty much perfect in my eyes. You can get some brunch from £2.50 for raisin toast, to £9.50 for a full on brekkie. The cakes are all around £2.50.

My only slight query about Nude Espresso is the rather utilitarian feel of the cafe seating. It’s not cosy, or somewhere I’d really want to while away an hour or so. This is probably its exact purpose - to deter lingerers who take up a seat for hours with only a latte and laptop to keep them company. But it does seem rather a shame for legitimate customers.

The staff were great though. And happily included me in their debate as to whether lamingtons are originally an Australian or New Zealand delicacy. I’ll leave you with that to ponder...

Nude Espresso website, Twitter, Facebook.


  1. Great review. I'm really glad you had Lamingtons. They're definitely from New Zealand (hint, I'm biased). I wrote a review of Nude Soho on my new journal of coffee in London:

    I notice you've got a background in geography. I wonder if you've got any thoughts on the role cafes play in urban renewal?

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks, I'm glad you like it. Just took a look at your blog - looks great and the headings are really handy to navigate your reviews.

      I must admit I haven't thought too much around cafes and urban renewal. I fear most 'trendy' cafes springing up in slightly dilapidated but ‘up and coming’ neighbourhoods are more a symptom of gentrification as new waves of young professionals colonise certain areas of the city. An interesting topic to ponder...