The Hipsta review: St. David Coffee House, 5 David's Road, Forest Hill SE23 3EP

Discussion in 'South East London General Discussion' started by Hipsta, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. Hipsta

    Hipsta Respected Local

    Any place that still plays the warm crackles of vintage vinyl is fine by me, but when you walk into any establishment for the first time and, somewhat freakily, find the song being played is the No.1 the day you were born? Well, it was meant to be.

    I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that only 24 hours ago I had no idea St David even existed, until a brief mention was made of it on the SEC Awards thread yesterday in fact.

    But as I had the car with me, I zipped over to Forest Hill, a place that, Horniman aside, well, at least I can say I knew of its existence if nothing else. But now I know it boasts groovy hangouts like St David I think I'll have to investigate further.

    What hits you the moment you walk in is the relaxed, rustic vibe owners Lisa and Dan have worked hard to cultivate, coupled with the 60s/70s retro emporium of the second-hand furniture, curios and artefacts tastefully arranged in every nook and cranny. It's as earthy and as solid as the sounds emanating from the turntable. More fabby than shabby chic, it's the kind of charming bohemian drop-in that you'd be happy to spend an hour or more soaking up the atmosphere.

    Always a good barometer of whether the products live up to their surroundings, the flat white was absolutely exactly how I like it, strong and dense, proudly using their Square Mile beans with due reverence.

    The food's good too. I tried a Chorizo and pear sandwich (unusual but it works), and a frangipani for afters, followed by another flat white which was every bit as impressive as the first.

    I guarantee that no matter how many times you return you will always find yourself looking up wondering why you hadn't noticed another cool quirk or piece of history before. There's a lovingly well-stocked book and comic case, featuring a splendid collection of stuff to buy or exchange, while rows of locally sourced England Preserves (based in New Cross) jams and chutneys jostle for shelf space with ancient typewriters, music memorabilia and original artworks for sale by Paula McGurdy, who often uses the space as her studio. It's not hard to see she chose well. I think I did too.
  2. sathlondonshona

    sathlondonshona Super-South-Easter

    Nice review Hipsta. If you like places like the St Davids you may like the Londons Best Coffee App which can be used on every phone baring my own (damned blackberry) anyway, the guy who runs it travels all over London to make sure the best coffee shops (indie) are covered. And as a matter of fact my own coffee bean supplier Dark Fluid Coffee who have their stall at Brockley Market are on it now too. Lawrence and co do a fantastic flat white and can be found at the market every saturday between 10-2.
    Suitmaster and Hipsta like this.
  3. Hipsta

    Hipsta Respected Local

    And where would a Hipsta post be without the Hipstamatics...

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  4. 4onthefloor

    4onthefloor Fountain of Southern Knowledge

    kebabylon likes this.
  5. Gila

    Gila Respected Local

    Great review. Also worth mentioning that they serve a range of nice loose leaf teas too.
  6. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

    Yep, excellent review Hipsta. Totally agree, and my only complaint is that now I'm going to have even less chance of getting a seat in there on a Sunday morning! :p

    I have my own Hipsta(gram) photo to share:

  7. Zapple

    Zapple Fountain of Southern Knowledge

    This place looks and sounds awesome - Forest Hill here I come!
    sathlondonshona likes this.
  8. Sarah

    Sarah Lives for South East London

    I'd love to keep this as my little secret, but sadly I know I have to share it! ;0)

    St. Davids is a HUGE asset to the area. I call it my little Forest Hill haven. It keeps me sane and awake when I'm working from home! I can pop down for a fantastic coffee fix (hard to beat - I promise!) and Lisa prepares the most beautiful salads, soups & sandwiches. And where else can you enjoy some awesome tunes on vinyl, whilst sampling such sweet treats?!

    Well done Lisa & Dan and long may you prosper! :0)
    Brockley Jon likes this.
  9. sathlondonshona

    sathlondonshona Super-South-Easter

    I mentioned this thread to the owner this morning, just because I think it is important for them to know how many people appreciate what they are doing, she seemed very pleased.
    Hipsta likes this.
  10. Suitmaster

    Suitmaster Local

    Thank you for this review and pointing me in this direction - absolutely fell in love with St David on my visit today. Will be back for sure.

    Brilliant app - also used for the first time today - very handy, cheers.
  11. sathlondonshona

    sathlondonshona Super-South-Easter

    Glad to help!
  12. The Resurrectionist

    The Resurrectionist Proper Local

    Sounds wonderful!
    I love cosy and characterful places like this - that certain earthy honesty.


    And this pic they have on their website cracked me up!
  13. nml

    nml Fountain of Southern Knowledge

    My ex-flatmate lives there now. A visit to the area just got more likely!
  14. Russell & Brockley

    Russell & Brockley Respected Local

    Went in today - brilliant place. The owners have def carved a niche for themselves in just 18 months.

    I'm just glad I'm not within walking distance cos I would be there every single day, getting fat on those scrummy cakes!
  15. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

    SEC exclusive - Kirsty Allsopp was in St David the other day filming for Location. She had a slice of lemon drizzle. You heard it here first! ;)
  16. Transpontine

    Transpontine Moderator Staff Member

    I love that place

    As I have discussed with the people running it, it is apparently on the site of - or next door to the site of - the Alpine coffee bar, a popular local mod hang-out in the 1960s (mentioned in comments here):

    Would like to find out more about that if anyone knows.
  17. Michael_FH

    Michael_FH Lives for South East London

    That might explain the log frontage to Romantique II which was located where Thai Orchard can now be found (between St Davids and the Hob).
    A good question for Steve Grindlay at his talk: "The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker. A history of commerce in Forest Hill"
    Thursday 23 February - 7.30pm – upstairs at The Hob
    Brockley Jon likes this.
  18. Transpontine

    Transpontine Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Michael, that suggests that it was actually the site of the Thai where the Alpine was doesn't it?
  19. Michael_FH

    Michael_FH Lives for South East London

    That would be my guess. I had never understood the log frontage previously.
  20. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

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