London Coffee Shops: Ishtar

Bar Italia
Caffe Vergnano
Flat White
Starbucks, Coffee Republic, Cafe Nero


London Coffee Shops. Photo Credit: AudreyH. CC.LicenseShould I go?
Ishtar is not a coffee shop. It’s a Turkish restaurant featuring a charcoal grill in full view, over which sizzles marinated meats and vegetables. It merits inclusion here, though, because Turkish coffee is not so easy to find in the capital and Ishtar brews a fierce little cup of it.

When can I go?
12:30pm-midnight, 7 days per week.

What’s it like?
It’s multi-leveled, decorated with abstract painting and elegant curves and mirror-clean stainless steel. The service is similarly sharp and, if you’ve got the money (it’s not cheap) it would be an incredible challenge to come and get nothing but coffee.

How’s the coffee?
Like all Turkish coffee, it’s black beyond translucency and served with the powder-fine grounds still within. Proper drinking technique is to let it settle and apparently your fortune can be read in the mud, which is to be left in the cup. The taste is unlike any other coffee – earthy, sweet, surprisingly light and gone too fast. The espresso-sized quantity packs the kind of levitating punch caffeine addicts have forgotten was possible.