114 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 9QD
Tomtom (no affiliation with the satellite navigation products) started out as a cigar (and later whiskey) shop, before branching out to coffee, and later still a full blown eatery – all based in Belgravia. The coffee house, Mess Hall (eatery) and cigar shop are all a stone’s throw from each other close to Victoria.
Located on the crossroads of Ebury and Elizabeth Streets, this little shop has a lovely curved facade on the corner of the two roads. It’s a few minutes from Victoria station, and just over 10 minutes away from my work and the furthest of the “proper” coffee stops nearby. As I approached for the first time, I thought it looked really appealing and welcoming.
The premises, while compact inside, also offer plenty of seating outside, and the kitchen is in the basement, so they’ve made use of the space where they could.
I’ve visited three times now (my minimum number before writing a review). The first two times the service was pretty shoddy. I wasn’t greeted and I was left standing for a while before someone asked me what I wanted. There were no pleasantries exchanged and it all felt a bit rushed – despite the fact I was the only person waiting.
The second visit was much the same, but a bit busier, so it felt even less positive. On neither of these occasions did the barista bother to take care when adding the milk to my coffee – instead just poured it in as quickly as possible, and didn’t give them the finish that has become the norm on flat whites. And both of these times the coffee tasted distinctly average too.
The third time I visited, I decided to sit in to see if my experience was any different. It was a bit. I was served quickly and the barista was more friendly than the previous two times. But he didn’t engage in conversation beyond what was necessary. I sat down, and after a few minutes a different staff member asked me what I’d like – I said I’d already been served. My flat white – with art – arrived soon after, and tasted pretty good.
The coffee was pleasant to drink the third time I visited, which really highlights the need to add the milk properly and not rush it. But compared to other coffee shops, it’s just not up to scratch here. The staff don’t seem to bother about taking the care needed to make a decent flat white.
On the plus side, it’s just £2.40 for a takeaway flat white (but 60p more to have one in). Now that a much better coffee shop has opened nearer to my work, I can’t see myself rushing back to Tomtom any time soon.
Price: 7/10 (halfway point between the two prices)