Alain Ducasse is making waves with his new artisan coffee bar in London; but is the menu highlight really worth £15 a go?
At the new Le Café Alain Ducasse opening in King’s Cross, London, coffee “is not to be rushed”. And so it shouldn’t be – at £15 a pop.
Britain’s most expensive brew can be found in a boutique bar nestled in a railway arch that forms part of the hip Coal Drops Yard complex.
Along with Ducasse’s Michelin-starred pedigree, the artisan coffee house draws its kudos from a series of single-origin coffees and dedicated “cafeliers” (coffee’s answer to sommeliers).
These bar-tending pros will help you navigate your way around a refined and expertly curated menu of espressos, filter coffees and infusions.
One of them is the £15 single origin filter from Yemen – the crème de la crème of the good stuff – which is more an experience than a straight-forward drink.
Cutting-edge equipment is used to grind the coffee beans, before you’re offered the chance to smell them and detect certain notes (in the manner of tasting wine). The process can take around six minutes and emphasises a journey “taken with care over time”.
Finally, belly-up to the coffee bar, you get to savour the finished product, served alongside water and a pairing Ducasse chocolate (described as the best in the world by the man himself) to enhance the flavours.
So far, so chic – but is it any good?
The general consensus among critics seems to be yes, indeed it is.
The Times’ food and drink editor Tony Turnbull describes it as “a perfect teatime coffee” with “notes of forest fruits” and “the sweetly caramelised flavour of cocoa nibs”.
The Guardian’s food critic Grace Dent pays tribute to “a damn fine brew” that is “delicious, rich, pungent and captivating”.
Whether this is enough to justify the eye-watering price tag remains to be seen (and needless to say, not everyone on Twitter is a fan).
General manager Olivier Fellous says the reason the Yemeni blend is so expensive is partly to do with its unique taste, and also because it is “an amazing product” that is not served anywhere else in London, and is difficult to source.
For those who aren’t quite ready to part with the best part of £20 for a coffee, though, there’s a silver lining.
Drink at Le Café starts at a (slightly more) reasonable £3.50 for a signature blend – around the same price as a grande vanilla spiced latte from Starbucks. Plus, we hear good things about the café’s trademark madeleine bakes, too. Santé!
Main image: Getty