The Black Penny


Zoe and George Notley, both ex-Lantana have really delivered with their first café, The Black Penny. Walking in, you get the feeling quality is taken seriously and every aspect of the experience has been thought through. Let’s start with the coffee which is from The Roastery Department. On the counter, stunningly attractive displays of food from the downstairs kitchen beckon. Teas are from Lalani and Co, baked goods from Dee Light.


This building previously housed Salt WC2 which closed in 2013. Extensive renovation work has uncovered historic features such as diamond vault doors and a centuries old stove-place. The building has been lovingly designed to highlight these original features alongside the wood panelling and exposed brick giving an air of authenticity to The Black Penny.


George has eleven years’ experience as a chef in both London and Australia and his lunches and brunches show great attention to detail; combining flavours imaginatively and producing food that looks great too. You can enjoy food or coffee in the comfortable back room, where a large communal table encouraged customer interaction and magazine racks surrounded the table which was adorned with vases of flowers and jugs of water topped with orange slices. A false ceiling here was knocked through to reveal a skylight high above.


Downstairs there is a seminar pit and The Black Penny aim to host events in an attempt to bring back the kinds of  heated debates and creative interaction associated with the 17th century penny universities of London’s first wave of coffee. Ted Baker, who played an investment role here have facilitated a café that is a great realisation of Zoe and George’s vision for a comfortable, stimulating environment that serves great coffee and food and encourages customer interaction.

Review by Phil Wain.