93 W Nile St, Glasgow G1 2SH, UK
Italian espresso bars have almost been overtaken by cafés influenced by the coffee culture born in Australia on UK high streets, but when you find a good one, it's a real treat. Laborotorio Espresso, right in the centre of Glasgow, has their game down to a fine art.
The space is notable in and of itself, shortlisted for the Architects Journal Small Projects Award 2014 and the Glasgow Institute of Architects Award 2014 — a glass fronted cafe in West Nile Street that sits quite shallow, with only a couple of tables and window seats, but extends high above you, with weather timber panels adding real character. Beautifully designed posters advertise everything they offer, and everything has an Italian DNA running through it — try their affogato, a scoop of ice cream with an espresso shot poured over it, and crumbled amaretti biscuits. A dessert you can get away with having at any point during the day.
The simplicity of the space allows the coffee to thrive. Lab rotate their roasts regularly, but you'll likely find The Barn, Five Elephants, Gardelli, La Cabra, Has Bean — the focus is very much small batch roasters who choose seasonal, interesting coffees, and they're always on the look out for more, so it's a good place to keep an eye on if you want to keep ahead of the curve. Perhaps surprising for an Italian style cafe is their broader coffee menu — batch brew and aeropress are on offer, as well as a classic, strong, full flavoured espresso. Grab a seat outside and pretend you're in Milan.
Reviewed by Harry Harris.
Coffee + Drinks
- House Roaster
- Multiple Roasters
- Guest Roaster
- The Barn, Workshop, La Cabra, Five Elephant, Origin
- Mahlkonig EK43, Nuova Simonelli Mythos One