I first discovered Curators Coffee Gallery when looking for a place to refuel halfway through an Oxford Street shopping expedition, and I still like to use it for that purpose every once in a while, but it has a far more serious raison d’être. The name is no exaggeration: when it comes to coffee, these people truly mean business. There’s a choice of blends, including the exclusive house espresso, and the menu features a signature drink at any given time. You can even buy the tackle to give it a try at home if you fancy yourself as a barista. There’s also tea, of course, and cakes, along with sandwiches and tasty salads at lunchtime.
Besides the coffee, though, I love coming here for the décor. In a marked break from the lovely but ubiquitous exposed brick, here there is brilliant white offset by an exquisite darkwood bar with hexagonal tiles creeping up it from the floor and, crowning it all, a glorious purple coffee machine. There are even copper kettles, bright enough to make Julie Andrews squeal with delight. I’d suggest sitting downstairs, which feels nothing like a basement as oodles of natural light flood in from the pavement above. This spacious seating area is often quieter than the main one upstairs, and has the added advantage of contributing the ‘Gallery’ part of the café’s name: the walls are filled with works by a local artist (they rotate), which are also for sale.