We had heard good things about Prufrock Coffee in Clerkenwell (23-25 Leather Ln), so this morning I said to my wife “Let us go then, you and I, when the [morning] is spread out against the sky” (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot) and we had a nice and quick small brunch. The building it is located in looks rather unassuming from the outside, inside the atmosphere is a bit like a ground floor loft conversion with minimal furniture, various steel columns carrying the high ceiling and uncovered chrome ventilation pipes and wooden floor and furniture. The kitchen and coffee machine area with its expertly trained baristas (and kitchen staff) is in the centre of the tube-like room, which encourages interaction between customers and the friendly staff. You order at the adjacent counter, then the waiters bring the coffee and dishes to your table.
Our coffee was rather good, but maybe not full, dark, heavy, and intense enough for our liking, very smooth but without any edges or anything to make it memorable. Some reviewers have labelled it ‘among the best coffees in London’, which goes too far in our view.
The homemade waffle, poached egg (they call it ‘fried’ on the menu), bacon, and maple syrup were tasty, even though only lukewarm. The waffle was slightly less soft than we had hoped and the bacon a tad too thick and lacking crispness, but for £6.50 a decent deal. ‘Ben’s Fish smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on rye’ were even better value at just £1 more and tasted lovely. The thick rye bread was not the dark variety we prefer and a tiny bit too dry and hard, the amount of smoked salmon not too generous, and the scrambled eggs had been made without much love or skill, clearly not whisked long and hard enough and left in the pan so long they lacked moisture and texture and were more like crumbled eggs, but the large amount of dressed super-fresh and delicious rocket leaves made up for that, a true revelation, and I’m the first to say that rucola is overrated and has these days often contaminated otherwise pleasant dishes like pizza or burgers.
There were only four other brunch/lunch dishes on the menu, including two soups and two dishes involving mushrooms respectively ham and beans on toast, so if brunch without Eggs Benedict is sheer heathen culinary terror to you, this might not become your favorite spot.
Overall, we’d give this place 3 out of 5, which is a pretty decent rating in our book (we hardly ever give more than 4 out of 5). We really enjoyed the food and coffee, just didn’t think it was that special. Atmosphere was pleasant and lots of guests appeared to be using the cafe as their office outside the office, typing away on their laptops. We might be back, also to check out the training courses they offer around coffee, but will check out a few of the other cool cafes and bars in the area first.