Fernandez & Wells
The opposite of the one-stop shop, Fernandez & Wells is the realised vision of food/wine/coffee aficionados Jorge Fernandez and Rick Wells, who wanted to bring outstanding farmers’ market fare to the bistros in Soho, London – in three small, separate parts. Because, of course, cakes aren’t so appetizing when underneath a dangling jamon, and coffee just doesn’t sit with fresh deli food. At the decidedly savoury Food & Wine Bar, bagsy one of the few tin stools at the slab of oak for a counter to sample a plate of 24-month-cured French Le Noir de Bigorre ham (not cheap at £18) or unpasteurised Manchego with Wells’ well-chosen wines (also available by day are posh salads, sandwiches, soups and stews). The sweet/savoury Cafe (73 Beak Street) offers fresh sandwiches (for example, Montgomery cheddar, red onion and leek), made with Poilane bread, stone-baked baguettes or olive oil ciabattas, plus mountains of paella, lovely salads, plump pastries and Portuguese custard tarts. Meanwhile, the exemplary Espresso Bar (16a St Anne’s Court) is Fernandez’ speciality, as Monmouth Coffee Company’s ex-general manager (it also does the juicy sarnie spread for take-away). Order a ‘stumpy’ (like a Spanish cortado) and drink it at the counter – in true espresso bar style, it’s standing room only.