Welcome to Espresso Saturdays. By the time the weekend rolls around, The Hungry One is in need of some distraction and some caffeine. Most people would opt for a sleep in. We have the curse of being early risers.

In Sydney Saturday mornings usually involved flat whites from The Hungry One’s precious espresso machine, some time with the Sydney Morning Herald and some avocado and eggs on toast.

Here in London we’re mixing it up a bit. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been trying to make our way to most of the sparkling coffee spots in central London.

This week, it was Fernandez and Wells’ turn.

Here are some highlights.

On  Saturday mornings, it’s blissfully calm in Soho. I think most people are still sleeping off their Friday nights. Here at Fernandez and Wells there’s natural light streaming in through the big picture windows facing Beak Street. Behind that the white brick walls and dark blackboards give the cafe a schoolmarmish charm.

There are seats by the window or you can prop yourself  up on the  benches that  hug the side wall. There’s a smattering of the day’s newspapers around and the soundtrack is the grunt and hiss of a hulking espresso machine.

The beans are a special blend from Hasbean. Fernandez and Wells are the only cafe in London to stock the craftsmanship of Stephen Leighton’s roast. The mix we tried is apparently their third. It was soft and mellow end with not a trace of a bitter ghost lingering at the end.

Coffee comes as  your standard latte, flat white, what-have-you. And then there’s the ‘stumpy’. We didn’t get around to it, but if  we needed  an incentive to return, a  piccolo latte with a novelty name might be it.

If we were looking  for more reasons there’s the charming and antipodean accented staff, a cheese toastie made with raclette, leek and a flutter of red onion and some seriously flaky portugese tarts. I’ve heard miraculous things about the black pudding, egg and mayo roll, but sadly on this Saturday morning there were none. So The Hungry One made do with a toasted ham and cheese croissant. Luckily it’s a good one.

What else to know? The service is swift and sweet. The roof to the toilet is surprisingly stooped. And this is cafe is one branch of three. The rest of the  family is also in the ‘hood. There’s an espresso bar on St Anne’s Court (not open on Saturdays), and a wine bar/deli just round the corner on Lexington.

Later on in the day we popped into the wine bar. There was a cured meat platter (or two), carved from legs of  cured pig and their farmyard friends and served on a chunky wooden board. There was a bottle of Tuscan Chianti for 28 pounds, a cheese platter with quince paste and olive oil slicked ciabatta toast.

The wine bar is a cosy little space, with your knees knocking up against the benches. But the smiles don’t  seem to fade from the faces of staff and for us, it was a  perfect spot to sit and watch the crowds stream past.

By 6.30pm on a Saturday, the rest of Soho has well and truly woken up.

And so had we. Espresso Saturdays- with a red wine chaser. Civility itself.

Fernandez and Wells

Cafe
73 Beak St
Soho W1F9RS

Deli/wine bar
3 Lexington St
Soho W1F9AL

Fernandez & Wells on Urbanspoon