Sitting at a 1890 Doulton & Co. urinal having a cup of tea
and a sandwich sounds peculiar. In fact it sounds revolting. But
visiting The Attendant, a new coffee shop in a disused public
lavatory in Fitzrovia, was unexpectedly charming.
The Attendant is the work of Pete Tomlinson and his business
partner Ben Russell who one day, whilst quaffing a pint in the pub
on the corner of Great Titchfield Street and Foley Street, were
discussing how Fitzrovia needed a great coffee bar and New York
style sandwiches. They looked up from their pints and noticed a To
Let sign, right there, on the beautiful iron work of an old
Victorian gentlemen's convenience.
Of course, the landlord was tickled by Pete and Ben's
hair-brained idea. And he went for it. Soon the underground space,
disused since the 80s, was being industrially cleaned and converted
(making sure to keep all the original metro tiles, urinals and the
black and white floor) to house a perfect, tiny coffee shop.
Ingredients have been meticulously sourced; the milk comes from
one of 120 jersey cows at the Ivy House Farm in Somerset, the
smoked turkey comes from family run farm Adlington's in Norfolk and
the 'artisan coffee' is from The Caravan Roastery.
So while the idea of getting breakfast or lunch in a public
toilet might feel wrong, once you've tried the almond milk porridge
or The Attendant's smoked turkey sandwich with avocado whip in
ciabatta - it feels so right.
27a Foley Street, London, W1W 6DY