urban75 blog

Hanging out at Brill Music, Coffee & Bagels in Exmouth Market, London EC1

After a hearty walk across east London, we were desperate for a decent coffee and a tasty piece of cake, and I’m happy to say that Brill in Exmouth Market delivered on both counts.

Situated betwixt Farringdon, Angel and Kings Cross tube stations, this small cafe-cum record shop reminded me of my favourite NYC hangout, the Cake Shop, although the coffee is much better on this side of the pond.

We grabbed a seat by the window, and the friendly staff sorted us out a couple of cappuccinos and a piece of particularly splendid carrot cake, which was moist and tasty, without being too sweet.

There’s a good selection of music papers and newspapers on hand to read as you sup your coffee, or you can always watch the world go by outside.

The cafe feels homely and unpretentious, with an outdoor seating area for when the weather’s good.

Back in the 90s, the building served as the Clerkenwell Music record store, but plummeting record sales have seen the owner – a Mr Brill –  wisely expand the business into a cafe, although there’s still a well curated collection of CDs running down one side.

Take a trip to the loo downstairs and you might also catch a glimpse of their vast stockpiles of vinyl.

The cafe looks pretty good for accessibility, so wheelchair types can roll right in, although the downstairs toilets will be out-of-bounds for most.

We didn’t get chance to try out their celebrated bagels – fresh from Brick Lane – so we’ll have to schedule in another visit for that  which is no problem because this is a cafe that’s worth coming back to.

Brill can be found at, 27 Exmouth Market, London EC1 (020 7833 9757)

It’s open Mon-Fri 7.30am-6pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10.30 – 4pm (check before setting out) and there’s free wi-fi inside.