Mister loves coffee. I like coffee.
So when we saw HK Epicurus had scored his first 10/10 for Prufrock Coffee, this pilgrimage was inevitable. Gwilym Davies, the World Barista Champion of 2009, chose to hide away in a Japanese clothes store called Present on Shoreditch High Street. We didn’t catch him behind his state-of-art espresso machine; perhaps he was entertaining another crowd on Leather Lane in his almost-finished establishment with his Nuova Simonelli.
Anyway, simple menu: espresso or espresso with milk in 3 sizes.
This could be the snappiest coffee I have yet tested my taste buds. The layers of aroma unfolded with various fruitiness, gradually tamed by an underlying trace of honey. It was complicated - woody yet spiky; smoky but defined. Mister was mesmerised by its uniqueness, trying to catch the right words for each essence that jumped at him.
I, er, didn’t like it.
For some obscure reason I kept finding it salty each time the shot met my lips. It was like a gate I had to battle through before I could reach the perfumes. It was brutally frustrating.
Mister thought the latte art could have been neater, but I managed to convince myself that I was intentionally given a heart. Very, very milky. Had I been blind-folded, this could pass as warm milk. Nah, maybe I don’t like milky coffees… Mister dismissively said I should stick to the Nespresso machine at home with evaporated milk.
I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with my visit. Like wines, people like different things. Afterall it was still the most complex caffeine I have experienced to date.
Finally fully awake at 1pm, we wandered around since we are still East London newbies. Ambling along Shoreditch High Street with the quirkiest furniture and fricking ridiculously priced teapots, we arrived at Kingsland Road, where Vietnamese cafes dominated the street. While comparing the menus, we caught sight of a wall full of paper masks through the Flowers Gallery windows. Nosily I buzzed in.
The Japanese artist reconstructed a corner of Tokyo with snapshots of a department store, noodle bar, public baths, vending machines, busy streetsof neon lights and the odd lamppost. Despite the cartoon-like strokes and deliberate wonkiness of the dimensions, Osuga captures the courtesy andcivility of the Japanese, and detailed the orderly chaos of the city.
The bird’s eye view of the bird and Tokyo. We could remove our shoes and ‘walk on the city’.
My rat’s eye view of the Tokyo Metro:)
The rest of the gallery was more playful with paper masks that invited visitors to try on, a super-sized oracle & wishing rack and miniature models of Japanese traditions.
The exhibition of packed with fun and portrayed the city with utmost accuracy.
140 Shoreditch High Street
Tel: 07852 243 470 (Gwilym)
82 Kingsland Road
Tel: 0207 920 7777
(Jiro Osuga Exhibition until 26th March, 2011)