The Bartlett


Places to grab a coffee and quick bite around campus

by Farah Khan

One of the everyday, routine decisions we must make as students is where to grab a good coffee from and where to make a stopover for food. Through this blog, I am going to be a coffee/food enthusiast for those who want to grab a bite around campus.

Franco Manca

While spending hours at the UCL Main Library, one of my favourite places to go to is Franco Manca. Nestled neatly right next to the Russell Square Station, it’s a small cosy pizzeria just six minutes’ walk away from the UCL main quad. I never thought I could down a whole pizza, but there is a first time for everything in life. I personally love their Pizza 3 with dry San Marzano tomatoes, roasted potatoes and onions, British mozzarella, Colston Bassett stilton and seasonal pesto with spicy lamb sausage. Keep an eye out for the pizza deals they post on a placard outside their door.

Image of a pizza from Franco Manca

Image of Franco Manca pizza menu

Dillons Coffee

Dillions Coffee is a lovely coffee shop right at the corner of the UCL main campus. There is something surreal about coffee shops tucked up so close to bookshops. This coffee house is on the ground level of a multilevel bookstore called Waterstones. This bookstore comes with a warning - I have gone broke multiple times inside this bookstore. I never walk out of this place without hoarding 5-8 new books for my ‘library-to-be someday’. So, after losing all self-control inside this bookshop, I make it a point to have a cup of coffee at Dillions Coffee to get back in touch with my Zen mode. 

Exterior image of Dillons Coffee shop

Image of shelves in Dillons Coffee shop

The Little Green Hut

The Little Green Hut at Russell Square serves delicious warm pita rolls on the go. When the sun is out and you have had enough of indoors, just step out of the UCL Institute of Education building, walk for a minute, take a right turn and voila, you can grab a quick bite along with some coffee. I would usually take a seat at one of the benches inside the Russell Square Park and enjoy some tete a tete of the trees with the gentle breeze.

Image of The Little Green Hut

Image of Russell Square

Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Have a sweet tooth like mine? The Krispy Krème doughnuts stall at the Tesco across the Russell Square Station has never disappointed me. The fresh and warm ooziness of crème filled donuts is an instant pick me up when I feel my energy levels crashing around campus and library runs. I always grab a pack of three – you never know, one of your friends on campus might need a quick pick me up too!

Image of 3 krispy kreme doughnuts

Pret a Manger 

On days when I felt I was consuming too much sugar, the salmon and mango salad bowl from the Pret A Manger with slices of avocado, mooli slaw and edamame soya beans was my go to food to balance off such feelings of hostility towards processed sugar. The colours are always so refreshing with a scrumptious combination of fresh mangoes and lighted roasted salmon. This Pret is located at 100 Tottenham Court Road at a six-minute walking distance.

Image of salmon and mango salad bowl from Pret a Manger

Gordon’s Café 

The first place I went to grab a cup of coffee in UCL when I arrived was at the Gordon’s Café at the UCL Student Union building. I found this coffee place by accident; I went into that building to buy some UCL merchandise including hoodies and t-shirts, but I couldn’t leave without grabbing a cup of coffee from this café adjacent to the merchandise shop. It’s a three-minute walk from the UCL main quad.

Exterior image of Students Union

Interior image of Gordon's Cafe

One more thing – with all this caffeine intake, I found myself more alert and energetic on campus when I made sure I was hydrated. So don’t forget to drink plenty of water and take small breaks between the study sessions.

About the author

I am Farah from Pakistan. I am currently pursuing my MPA in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value from IIPP at The Bartlett. Back home, I work as Deputy Commissioner – Inland Revenue Service for Government of Pakistan.

Student Ambassador - Farah Khan