We review The Black Penny, a Covent Garden coffee shop that serves all-day breakfast including confit duck, lighter breakfasts including homemade compotes and coffee from South London roasters, Alchemy.
Duck for breakfast? Yes, please! Particularly if it’s in the form of crispy confit of corn-fed duck and sweet potato hash at The Black Penny, a new coffee house in Covent Garden.
Open for breakfast from 8am-8pm, the coffee shop caters for Londoners who want their morning fix any time of the day. The short but thoughtful menu skips heavily-instagrammed brunch classics such as avocado on toast, for more inventive dishes that focus on British seasonal ingredients. The confit of corn-fed duck and sweet potato hash is served with crisp skin and fragrant coriander for a very satisfying breakfast (or lunch, or dinner); and house baked beans are slow-cooked and served with goats cheese and a poached egg on fresh sourdough. Turkish business partners have also influenced the menu, notably in the Ozdemir pasha fried eggs with grilled halloumi, butterbean hummus and a sweet-sour hint of sumac with homemade grilled Turkish bread.
Duck hash in the morning not your thing? Head Chef George Notley also caters for lighter breakfasts, with Bircher muesli and fresh fruit compotes including zingy grilled pineapple, chilli and lime, as well as a range of cakes and pastries.
It’s not just about the food, though; these guys take their coffee pretty seriously, too. All of their coffee is sourced from South London roasters, Alchemy, and they have a several different blends available at a time. Expect to find cortardos, syphon and buttered espresso alongside your usual flat white, as well as macha lattes and a selection of teas, each served with a timer to make sure it’s brewed just right.
This isn’t just another of your typical coffee shops though, it takes its inspiration from the 17th century Penny Universities, where a penny could get you a cup of coffee, along with access to intellectual debates and discussions. As a nod to this, there’s a communal seating area at the back of the venue, and a private room in the basement complete with exposed brickwork and an original fireplace and aga, which will host various events such as poetry readings, seminars and discussions. Unfortunately, inflation means that the ‘penny for a coffee’ concept isn’t quite realistic, however the idea behind it lives on.