Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Fee & Brown, Beckenham, South London, UK

Moving back to Beckenham I was hugely disappointed to find not one decent real coffee house. A bounty of cafes and a few of the big chains but no one here was making the effort. To be fair most of these establishments offer a nice environment and good food but where things crash is the coffee. 

A few weeks back I spied a review on The Faerietale Foodie blog that things had changed and finally someone had opened a place serving proper coffee here in the high street where Ziggie Stardust was conceived (true) and Bob Monkhouse started his little book (this last bit is conjecturer).

I popped in on a Sunday afternoon to see if it really was the answer to my prayers. Situated opposite St.Georges church at the nicer end of Beckenham it is in easy reach of Beckenham Junction station and Beckenham green for commuters and sun worshipers respectively.

A single modern bench sits outside the modest exterior and inside we are greeted with a large open counter groaning with good but naughty things. The walls are white, the ceiling high and the light fittings many and modern. Wood benches and matching light pine tables fill the front of the cafe and a rear area is taken up by a single long seated area, good for a  large group. It is clean and modern and airy, I like my cafes a bit more ramshackle and earthy than this but it is nice. 

Out the back is ample space for a future large additional outside space, my only bone of contention with the d├ęcor was the menus on silver gilded mirrors but each to their own. After taking our order we were kindly offered a seat and I cast around what else Fee & Brown had to consume. 

Artisan sandwiches which looked the part, freshly made fruit and veg juices and the aforementioned cakes and pastries. They also had free and tasty lemon water on hand to refresh the pallet, the perfect coffee accompaniment (bar pastries).

The young staff were constantly buzzing around to attend to people's needs, they were fast, polite, attractive and lent the place a positive vibrant energy but were perhaps a little too keen to tidy up which verged on rushing. By the till they keep a manifesto of sorts bemoaning bad coffee, so the question was whether they would keep to their principles. 

We were soon joined by the coffee in neat sky blue cups, old teaspoons and the milk in a cute mini bottle. The babychino came with a large chocolate button and got the cheeky grin of approval. The americano looked good, thick dark cream shrouded a short drink. There was not much aroma to pull out from this shot but what was there smelt right. 

The initial burst of flavour and strength gave me a bit of a shove out the aeroplane of taste but I was soon free falling in joyful imbibment. It was strong and the flavour full, bitter but utterly clean and crisp. As I acclimatised a gentle sour cherry acidity emerged that lifted and lightened the mood. Overall it was full and rounded in flavour with the lighter notes offsetting the deeper bitter tones. The finish was clean and creamy lending me a pleasant after taste all the way home. 

Black Americano, drink in
Small size
Full rounded flavour with cherry notes
Thick brown crema
Machine: La Marzocco
Beans: Caravan Coffee

Really good coffee, strong and flavoursome, made and served well. Beckenham has a cafe saviour and it is Fee & Brown.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Owner ofthis coffee shop

    Thank you for asking me to design your shop it looks even better in reality than on the designs.

    Good work

    from Johan Engelbrecht