The Attendant: Sipping Superb Coffee Amongst Bathroom Tiles And Graffitti

I was walking around the East End yesterday for an art errand. I wanted to look for the art studio I’ve been eyeing on online for the past few weeks now. I wanted to know if it’s easily accesible to me. (The rest of this story in another post.) Anyway, after lunch I figured I didn’t want to go home yet so I decided to look for a cozy coffee spot somewhere where I could read; or for many people nowadays, a cozy spot to take instagram coffee pictures or twiddle through the internet endlessly. I found The Attendant in Shoreditch.

Now, I was initally dismayed that this wasn’t the original The Attendant spot: the lovely Victorian urinal built in the 1890’s converted into an espresso house. I was looking forward to descending into the bowels of the city and drinking my coffee amidst the original porcelain toilets. Pun intended. Apparently, this Shoreditch cafe was the second location.

But I imagine it’s a bigger, airier and more ready-for-a-full-meal kind of location than it’s predecessor with its spacious interior lined with wide wooden tables and chairs. I ordered a cappuccino and plopped myself on a stool overlooking the street. Succulent on a little pot. Nice natural touch.

The cappucino was heavenly. I’m not a coffee expert ok, but I think I can still taste mediocre and excellent. I like Costa coffee, but just like Starbucks, it’s massed-produced and methodically manufactured to give you passable coffee but not anything more. Its thin brew will wake you up before you take the plunge into the Underground for another day in the office. However, The Attendant’s cappucino brew is thick, rich in consistency. The oils linger in your palette for a longer period of time. The flavor is strong but not burnt, nutty, with a hint of sour like oranges. The Attendant tries to give a treat, a coffee experience one will remember. Coffee I will want to come back to again and again whether its Monday or Sunday. For a slow day. An hour just for sipping. I suddenly remembered The Matching Half cafe in San Francisco; and I always went back to that place.

Now let’s get to the location. I didn’t want to take photos of the tables as a lot of people were eating then, so I took these instead:

The wall that greeted me as I passed through the front door. Perhaps no self-respecting public urinal should be caught without graffitti.  Where are the Jesus Loves You quotes I saw a lot of in college? And the dick art? Oh wait, I think I see one.

The counter is spacious and full of delectable goods. Notice the green tiles that gives that bathroomy feel. I love that. I also noticed that that guy barista always greeted new customers with a loud hello and a smile as soon as they came in. Now that’s proper customer service. It’s a breath of fresh air from the many establishments here that welcome patrons through gritted teeth.


Lastly, The Attendant has a quirky loyalty card. Love it. With their coffee’s rich taste, I think I will be regular, in all meanings of the word. (I can imagine drinking this early in the morning. It’s going to be a battlefield.) But going back to my overall experience of this cafe, with its superb coffee, warm service and fresh interiors, I think I will be regular.


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