Due to launch in March 2020 but delayed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Queens, a lovely new artisan cafe in Mayfair has opened with a number of excellent and unique offerings, including the rarest, most expensive coffee in the UK. Owner siblings Victoria Sheppard, a marketing hospitality executive and Grace Sheppard, a luxury interior designer, are the brains behind this new venture.
Victoria Sheppard explains that their aim is to “bring local Mayfair commuters something different from the chain cafes they would be used to frequenting. We have partnered with some of the top suppliers to bring customers premium homemade food at a competitive price point for the prestigious area. We want to be the middle ground between the pubs and five-star hotels in Mayfair.”
Housed within an attractive Georgian building, Queens is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an appealing new breakfast and lunch venue and casual coffee spot during the daytime. By evening, it becomes the capital’s newest, buzzy cocktail and wine bar, serving light bites such as cheese and charcuterie. Breakfast and lunch is takeaway or eat-in, with a great range if homemade pastries and cakes plus a menu featuring signature items like Queen’s Truffle Cheese Toastie, Nectarine and Fennel salad with smoked chicken and the Mayfair Mule Cocktail.
Aside from the admirable aspect of a new hospitality venture bravely opening during very challenging times, Queens is also newsworthy for its exciting and exclusive partnership with Difference Coffee. Difference offers the highest grade coffee in the world and is currently served in over 80 Michelin starred restaurants worldwide. Anne-Sophie Pic, Pierre Gagnaire, Guy Savoy and Christian Bau are among the top chefs who serve Difference Coffee in their restaurants. Queens is the coffee distributor’s only collaboration outside of the fine dining sphere and serves what is indeed the most delicious coffee in the capital. And for the ultimate in coffee tasting experiences, Queens is offering a very limited number of servings from Difference, of what has been described as the most expensive coffee in the UK.
The Cup of Excellence Experience (enough for one generous serving or for two to share) features the award-winning Cup of Excellence from Ethiopia. Queens is offering only fifteen servings, making this a super-exclusive tasting experience. The Cup of Excellence is the world’s most prestigious annual competition and auction for coffee. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.
The Cup of Excellence coffee is served through a v60 filter after being hand ground at your table by Queens’ Head Barista. This coffee was sold to Difference for between £1500-£2,000 a kilo so it’s no surprise that this exclusive experience at Queens costs £50. And Difference didn’t secure the entire lot of Ethiopian beans; half went to a Japanese roastery. But think about the Cup of Excellence experience like you would a fine wine tasting which is for education and experience, not simply for consumption. But the taste really is remarkable too and probably is worth the high price tag. Not only is this coffee a very rare commodity but the farmers were paid more than 150 times the usual trade price for these beans, making a real difference to communities in Ethiopia.
As well as Difference Coffee, the sisters are working with some of the top specialist suppliers including Hedone Bakery, renowned for its famous white and brown sourdough breads and world chocolate specialists Charbonnel & Walker. Queens is committed to using local, seasonal and British ingredients, with suppliers including Wiltshire Truffles, Brown and Forest Smokery in Somerset, plus spirits from their cocktail menu delving to Grace and Victoria’s Dorset roots with Black Cow Vodka and Conker Gin.
The chic and cheerful styling and interiors was led by Grace who has blended the building’s original features with a contemporary style, featuring a statement counter, joined by dark oak flooring and paired with mirrored brass countertops, vibrant bar stools and banquette seating, providing a warm and elegant atmosphere. Grace says that her design vision “was to bring to life both a homely and comfortable coffee bar and deli but also a relaxing luxury wine bar setting for diners to drop in to drink or dine at any time of the day.” The sisters also note that Queens is dog friendly, always important to British customers.
Queens of Mayfair, 17 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PH
Exclusive “Cup of Excellence” Coffee Experience (limited availability) must be pre-booked – £50 per serving