Me and my husband moved from Kensal Green (NW10) to Forest Hill (SE23) during the summer of 2012, partly because it was cheaper and partly to be nearer friends, and I was slightly unsure about how I’d feel in this new (to me) part of town. Kensal Green (also called Kensal Rise) had a wonderful community feel and there was an abundance of fantastic little cafes, bars and restaurants which we used to frequent a lot. When we first moved to Forest Hill I couldn’t see that it had the same. Forest Hill definitely can’t compete with Kensal Green on the number of cafes and eateries, however there is one thing that Forest Hill has that Kensal Green never will: St David Coffee House.
St David Coffee House is the type of cafe every area should have but most areas don’t. It’s an institution in South East London and I know people who come from miles around just to enjoy their wonderful coffee. Anyone who loves coffee in London should in fact make the trip to Forest Hill to try one because I can pretty much guarantee you won’t taste a better coffee in London.
Firstly, it’s made with Square Mile coffee beans. Square Mile Coffee Roasters is a multi award winning coffee roasting company based in East London. St David Coffee House use their Red Brick blend which tastes fruity and sweet, it’s truly delicious and easy to drink as a black Americano or just as tasty as a latte with milk when it becomes a smooth velvety texture. The baristas really know what they are doing so there is no chance of getting a bitter or disappointing drink.
The food served at St David is pretty exceptional too. I’m not lying when I say the bacon sandwich is the best I’ve ever had. They certainly don’t scrimp on the bacon (which is served about an inch thick) and sandwiched between some decent bread. They don’t do hot dishes as such, just a small selection of sandwiches, sausage rolls and salad (so they can remain focused on the coffee) but the ones I’ve tried have all been very good. Cakes and pastries are well worth trying too so make sure you go there hungry.
The cafe itself is a charming place to sit, with vintage furniture / accessories and art on the walls creating a lovely homely vibe which is definitely not too try hard or over the top. Service is friendly and they have a stack of newspapers and magazines to peruse while you drink your coffee. It’s a lovely relaxed environment in which to hang out. It’s small-ish and can get very busy at weekends but they have a couple of tables outside to cater for extra people. My advice would be don’t go anywhere else… it’s definitely worth waiting around for a table to check it out for yourself.