It’s universal to agree that having coffee in a public bathroom definitely isn’t appealing at all. Like, who in their right mind would do that?! But this coffee shop, Attendant, take the headlines for being a coffee shop housed in a restored former Victorian public bathroom at Fitzrovia. If we were ever to make a list of the quirkiest food places in London, Attendant Fitzrovia will no doubt be at the top of the list.
The Fitzrovia branch is the only quirky one among all the Attendant coffee shops in London. You can also find them in Shoreditch, West End, Clerkenwell, and South Quays. Though none of them has such a headline story about making coffee inside a restored public bathroom!
Attendant Fitzrovia: Restored Bathroom Turned Coffee Shop
Okay, for more context, it’s not an active bathroom anymore. In fact, the irony is that there is no actual bathroom there at all at Attendant Fitzrovia! It is a former bathroom that had been dormant for over 50 years and it took 2 years of planning & restoration to become the coffee shop it is today. The Fitzrovia branch is Attendant’s flagship store opened in 2013 – and yes, it’s all spotlessly clean and hygienic to visit.
Down the stairs of the entrance reveals a small intimate space. On one side of the wall, you’ll find the original Doulton & Co porcelain urinals, which now form a long tabletop for countertop eating. Green was specifically the chosen colour for the seating stools to match the original Green Victorian floor tiles. Meanwhile, at the very back of the space, you can find a little banquette of small tables as well. Even though it’s got that dark underground tone, the space really has its own quirky charm at the same time.
The Food & Coffee: What I Ordered
Date of visit: October 2018
Toast w/ Poached Egg and Slow Roasted Tomatoes (£5+)
I visited on a Saturday morning and was in the mood for a light breakfast. There is a small food menu available and I decided to opt for toast with slow-roasted tomatoes & poached egg. With such a simple dish, quality is key and Attendant certainly did not disappoint. In particular, the poached egg was a textbook-perfect one, featuring a beautifully runny yolk and just the right texture & seasoning. The slow-roasted tomatoes were lovely too and has this intense sweetness and flavour like sun-dried tomatoes.
As for coffee, Attendant is known to be a speciality coffee shop and prides itself in only serving green coffee (i.e. ethically sourced & expertly roasted) that has a ‘cupping’ score of 84 or above. As such, I certainly had some high expectations for it.
I went with my usual latte, which was generally smooth and velvety to taste. However, it was lacking a bit of strength and tasted rather mild. It’s not bad but nothing particularly outstanding, in my opinion.
I think no one would disagree that Attendant Fitzrovia is a unique spot to visit in London. The headline of being a quirky coffee spot inside a restored bathroom is kind of an unbeatable one. Whilst I enjoyed my breakfast, the coffee wasn’t that special and not enough of a draw to revisit again. In terms of ambience, it’s nice when you’re alone in the corner and they’ve done a lot of work in the design & decor to make it cosy. But as more and more people started showing up later in the hour, it felt significantly crowded and cramped in the small tiny space. If you want to tick off your list of visiting this quirky cafe, perhaps it’s more worthwhile to “pop down the loo” for a takeaway and get a glimpse of the place rather than sitting in.