Nine Cafes Deeply Rooted in their Communities18 Apr 2017
Main photo - Dandy by Phil Wain
We tried to think what possible connection there was between the nine cafes we’ve either added as new to the app, or significantly updated in terms of our review. One thing they have in common of course is great coffee, but beyond that, each of these eight cafes offers something a little unique, tailored to the needs of the local community. As the number of speciality cafes increases, it’s often not enough to be just another café, a café has to offer something special and gear its offer to the neighbourhood it sits in – while evolving with it.
Perhaps this connection could be considered tenuous with Dandy whose customised container care/restaurant fitted London Fields pretty well too. But it’s exciting to see them take on the extensive former Newington Table café/restaurant site in Newington Green. Dandy offer something much welcomed by the locals but also Curators and Colonna coffee, unique food and service the like of which Newington Green is barely familiar with. We asked James Hansen, Origin Coffee barista, the Gannet magazine food writer and comedy producer to put together his debut café review for us.
20 Newington Green, London N16 9PU
Although Limehouse is only minutes from central London by DLR, it might not be a place automatically associated with speciality coffee. When we finally made it to Husk, we fell in love. Not only is the Climpson & Sons and Roastery Department coffee made to high standards and the food excellent and great value but the café is truly welcoming. We and chatted for far longer than we planned and found ourselves talking to a Syrian man dressed to visit the Mosque, Black Caribbean aunties, laptop-equipped workers and local students and artists. Speciality coffee is often accused of not attracting a diverse enough clientele but Husk have clearly found the secret recipe.
649-651 Commercial Rd, Limehouse, London E14 7LW
Photo by LT
Not to be confused with Husk, Hucks sits 6 miles or so away in Walthamstow Village and serves well-made Ozone filter and espresso. We spotted it on our last Walthamstow trip but were too caffeinated to review it then. When we visited we found locals chatting on the outside seating with such a perfect village vibe we half expected to see cricketers arriving in their whites and the vicar cycling past. Hucks shares Husk’s knack of attracting a diverse crowd through and does tis through offering a range of community activities as well as the natural consequence of their friendly hospitality.
81 Grove Road, E17 9BU, Walthamstow, London
Walthamstow could practically have its own coffee app. This latest addition is one of the best coffee offers locally though and Chris and Myles ensure it’s a friendly welcome with Roasting Shed coffee made with care and passion and products from local companies. It sits inside a pizza joint which itself inhabits a former garage. LT wrote the review for us.
15 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 4SD
When the Building Centre approached The Gentlemen Baristas to open a café inside their architecture centre, the GBs approached the job of creating a space with a very different aesthetic to their Union Street café. Where that coffeeshop fits in the Southwark locale so well it has become a beloved neighbourhood café, their Store Street venture has to fit within modern design aesthetics and the unique chain-free atmosphere of the street itself.
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, Fitzrovia, London, WC1E 7BT
Angel’s Camden Passage Antiques Market has long had a relaxed, carefree atmosphere though only a block away from Upper Street. Charlton Place, on which Mokapot sits, leads to a quiet but well-heeled residential neighbourhood. Mokapot is charming and friendly and a place for all, whether visitors to the market, locals or those working nearby. Not too long ago Angel was short of coffee options, not now. Mokapot serves up a very decent cup of Square Mile coffee.
4 Charlton Place, Angel, London N1 8AJ
Just a little update here as Gramos, run by the delightgful Rodolfo and Charlotte. For a while Gramos functioned as a pop-up on the first floor of the O2 Centre Finchley Road. Now theyr are back, this time with a prime site in front of the O2 centre in a new custom-built coffee cart. Gramos, in both incarnations worked with their regulars and locals, offering free coffee classes and superb hospitality alongside a high standard of Caravan coffee.
255 Finchley Road, O2 Centre, London NW3 6LU
There are a few good cafes near Angel but we have never seen a proper sit down speciality coffeeshop on busy Upper Street before. Scandinavian influenced Kobo serve consistently good Caravan filter, whether filter or espresso based, and does this with a smile and a welcome and little fuss or ceremony. Head up the steep staircase for the comfortable seating area. The quality of design and thought behind the menu fits perfectly with the busy high street while adding an individual personalised touch.
346 Upper Street, London, N1 0PD
The original review, where I waxed lyrical about CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll, portals to other worlds, emanating orange glows, top hats and tunnocks needed am update as the Union Street store now houses an upstairs kitchen and offers weekend brunches and a thrice weekly supperclub.
63 Union Street, Southwark, SE1 1SG
Last but least, our review of Lundenwic has been updated as the café now has a lovely downstairs seating area and new manager Vendula is already improving the coffee offer yet further. In an Aldwych location where they have few competitors, they have established themselves in the area and look set to set even higher coffee standards for locals.
45 Aldwych, WC2B 4DW