Artisan are a small, London based, chain of coffee shops, one of which is located less than a minutes walk from Stamford Brook tube station in a leafy, green and lovely part of West London called Chiswick. After several recommendations and some interested looks through the window I decided to take a look inside and see what I thought.
When entering it feels a very lively and exciting place to be. Whether they are getting something for their morning commute, relaxing after dropping kids off at school or working away on their laptops, there is always a great buzz of chat between customers and the staff behind the counter too. It also looks incredibly welcoming as you enter. The floors are a very warm shade of autumnal golden brown and on two of the long walls there are huge windows which let lots of natural light in and can also open to let fresh air in during the warmer months. Given the name, it all feels very purposefully rustic without being irritating or pretentious. The staff are always very cheery and seem to make a real effort in getting to know and greet the locals and regulars which is a nice touch in contrast to the often, hilariously wrong, Starbucks idea of putting your name on a cup. If I do have one criticism it would be the music. I have no problem with the artists that they chose to play but the volume of it feels too loud. Granted I do get my drinks to go much more often then staying in, but, when I do spend more time in the shop the noise can become a bit over powering. There are usually a lot of people there so trying to have a conversation over all the other conversations and a pretty loud recording of Caro Emrald's "That Man" can feel quite frustrating.
Everything here is beautifully presented. Drinks come out on rustic, old looking wooden trays and a vast selection of cakes, sandwiches and sweet things are accompanied by a few hot dishes on a black board menu behind the counter. They also have a few things for those who have problems eating gluten and those with lactose intolerance by giving customers the choice to have almond milk with drinks and providing a few gluten free cakes for good measure. Again, all the food is laid out wonderfully on the counter, nothing is pre-sealed which is a welcome change from Cafe Nero, Costa and Starbucks and, my favourite thing, is that you can see them make your drink or food right in front of you. I always find this important because it actually guarantees freshness I feel and that this is something, with regard to food anyway, that isn't done by the bigger chain stores. They also provide free glasses of chilled water which is a welcome touch on hotter days. Food and drink do come on the slightly pricy side (£2.40 for a cup of tea) but they do offer great quality, and some slightly more unusual things on the menu to go with your standard latte, americano, flat white and breakfast tea.
I think it's a great place. Yes I would rather get drinks to go because of the volume of the music, but I have no huge problem spending more time in there. It can feel a little hipsterish at times and it does attract a lot of lap top users but it doesn't have any of the pretentiousness of some of its competitors. It's also been decorated with some interesting pictures on the walls and other bits of furniture to give it a unique, yet warm and welcoming look. The staff are lovely and whilst the drinks may be a little pricy, I'd rather pay a little more for better drinks and a nice place to go. I'd recommend it and if you've already been, plan on going or want to know more then why not leave me a comment and tell me about it! Check out the video below to see how they run the ship at Artisan in Chiswick!