The Attendant is a coffee bar located in a former men’s toilets in Fitzrovia. Given the potentially gimmicky nature caused by its former use, you would forgive the owners if they produced second-rate fare, but it’s really well done, and the only smell is of the delicious food and coffee on offer. It’s tiny, as you would expect, seating maybe 15 people, but doesn’t feel claustrophobic. Most of the seating is at stools at the individual urinals, but there’s one table at the back which you’re inevitably going to have to share.
Coffee is obviously the big thing here, and they’re keen to emphasize the quality of the beans. They have artisan teas as well, and croissants from £2, brownies from £2.70 and cookies (the ‘Everything’ one looked amazing!) from £1.90. They’re big on the organic nature of what they produce, even down to telling you what farm the milk is from.
I had a muffin with maple-cured bacon, eggs (free range of course) and Swiss cheese, for £4.25. The ingredients are cooked for you there and then. They’re very generous with the bacon, and it was both sweet and tangy. The muffin was really nicely toasted too. With it I had a bottle of the home-made lemonade, which came in a cutely-labelled bottle and was really nice and tart. The French toast (£7.95) looked really good too.
Even on a weekend lunchtime the place was pretty full, to be fair with a few people just to see what a café in a toilet might look like, but by all accounts they do a roaring weekday trade for the local offices.
Public Transport test – Not really too close to anywhere, even buses. It’s about 8 minutes’ walk from Goodge St, Oxford Circus and Great Portland St tubes. Nearest buses are from Great Portland Street and go into the West End proper.
Staff test – Way friendly and lots of them.
Quirkiness test – It’s a toilet! Nuff said.
Single person test – There are stools you can sit at on your own.
Date test – Well, you’d certainly have something to talk about, but maybe a little too noisy and cramped.
Take your mother test – Foe a coffee, why not?
Read a book in the corner test – No.
Could you work here on your laptop test – No.
Accessibility test –Downstairs (being an underground toilet!) and pretty snug when you get in there.
Child- friendly test –No; too small, and they might try and pee in the urinals.
Clientele – Gawkers. Like me.
Music test – Dodgy R&B which is a bit too loud, though the staff were blaming a waitress for the choice.
Grumpy Old Man test – Gets crowded very quickly.
If it were a band/song/film/book, what would it be? ‘Going Underground’.
Loos –Oh irony of ironies…there is none!
Website test –Very attractive looking. Lots of details on the provenance of the food but no menus. And no gallery, oddly.
Top tips – Be prepared to share the table or even wait for a seat.