Before moving to London I had high expectations that most my drinking and dining experiences would be in independent, one of a kind locations, enjoying quality food and drink. Over the years this has been satisfied to varying degrees, often ticking at least one of three boxes, but every now and again you discover somewhere like The Attendant. Good coffee in a Victorian toilet is not something you’ll come across often!
Built around 1890, closed in the 1960s, reopened after two years of planning and restoration in January 2013. It was put on my list in the winter but somehow got long forgotten until I read the review on Lyndon’s Coffee. Caravan coffee and an original interior far different from any other cafe I’ve visited so far, I’m there.
So after window shopping down Marylebone High Street on a hot summer’s day I made my way over to Foley Street to explore a piece of London’s past. It stands out proudly from the local pubs and shops so you can’t miss it.
I headed down below.
I know what you’re thinking, there are loads of converted basements in London, but rather than completely gutting it out and inserting something modern they’ve carefully restored its main features and worked all the important cafe bits around it.
Original Victorian floor tiles.
Top quality coffee machine.
I ordered my cappuccino and took a seat at one of the urinals, (not a sentence you’d ever imagine writing!)
As you may expect from a converted toilet, the urinals take centre stage as individual coffee booths.
There are plenty of other features referencing to its past, keeping your eyes wandering around the space. Toilet talk is inevitable here.
It’s surprising how well a cafe sits in these surroundings. The careful restoration and attention to detail brings it all together, add a good coffee selection and it’s a winner. (You can get cakes and savouries along with a few cold drinks too.)
On a day reaching late twenty temperatures it got pretty warm down there, so this iced tea was a welcome refreshment.
It’s the kind of place you really won’t find elsewhere, try it by yourself or impress guests wanting to see the original side of London!
Have you been to the Attendant? Have you discovered any original must-visit places in London?