LA Mill will get people talking. To locals who dread the gentrification of Silver Lake, there's plenty to loathe. To folks who love top notch, exactingly made coffee and tea with simple honesty and sincerity, it offers reason to celebrate and a few things to be confused about. To people who love killer eclectic design matched with great drink and food, they -- o.k., WE -- will be excited. The national food press will inevitably be all over it.
Think hybrid of Boule, Whist, Intelligentsia, and the long-gone Velvet Turtle coffee shop at the Beverly Wilshire. In contrast to the coffee salon at Sunset Junction that's awash in plywood, this is all slick polished expensive surfaces territory. The counter and faux-skin puffy chairs reference the comfort of 50s coffee shops, but I'm curious to see just how far that ethic goes. So far no wifi to encourage people to linger longer. Yet on opening day, customers were slowly soaking in the atmo and slurping down goodies from the extensive menu.
Andy might be onto something when he suggested a striking writer was hired to flesh out the very elaborate copy. At LA Mill you can order an espresso knowing exactly what it is, and read all about the subtle nuances of the teas and coffees, or that Thomas Keller-esque concoction you are about to enjoy. It's a wordy kind of place.
Lesley posted a good roundup of the decor. Honestly, though, aren't people going to tire of Regency soon enough already? Maybe the gorgeous sheets of floor-to-ceiling glass and action behind the counter will continue to dazzle when the appeal of French Poussin-inspired gray toned wallpaper and Dutch style brass chandeliers lose their kitschy cool.
Eager customers who showed up on Friday were lucky enough to get free stuff. Those of us who got there late missed out on food, save for the lone baguette, and a couple of Smurf blue colored macarons. But the cappuccino was silky smooth, with less acidity (in a good way) than Intelligentsia. To make sure that tea is steeped just so, an hourglass is placed in front of you so you can plunge the leaves into the pot at the right moment. Coffee also comes prepped via the Clover, Eva Solo, and Chemex apparatuses.
Though some might fear it, Intelligentsia won't get usurped from its rightful place within the Silver Lake hipster habitat. With its plentiful uniformed staff, use of words like "couture" and "boutique," and grown-up crowd, LA Mill could be as far west as La Cienega. At least. But with a much more down-to-earth, relaxed vibe. Expect to see bridal and baby showers happening beneath the baroque mirrors any day now.
LA Mill Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Blvd., 90026