*London cafes: your very best recommendations, please!

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by editor, Mar 26, 2003.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

    London cafes: your very best recommendations, please!

    I'm about to post up a short guide to the best cafes in London, in the style of the Brixton cafe guide.

    I'd really appreciate your help on this, so if you've got any cafe gems to share, please post up its name, address, (if poss) phone number and a short paragraph describing what's so darn good about it.
    andysays likes this.
  2. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

    Shepherdess Cafe
    City Road j/w Shepherdess Walk, N1

    Always packed, food is great and cheap, ideal for City types along Moorgate and Old Street who reject the Starbucks / Costa Coffee / Cafe Nero places.
  3. isvicthere?

    isvicthere? a.k.a. floppybollocks

    What about the Cafe on the Hill? Without it the guide looks a bit central Brixton-centric. Especially since you give Bonnington Square Cafe a mention.
  4. isvicthere?

    isvicthere? a.k.a. floppybollocks

    Edited until I know what I'm talking about.
  5. Epona

    Epona Down with battered parsnips

    Best greasy spoon in London - Regency Cafe - corner of Regency Street and Page Street, SW1.

    It's a proper old-style formica counters job with a nice atmosphere, great grub, and cheap - a huge plate of food and a mug of tea for around £4.
  6. chieftain

    chieftain Mega Gammon

    The Mess Cafe in Amhurst road Hackney is the best cafe in Hackney by miles, really nice grub with chilled music and free papers to boot.
  7. mains

    mains New Member

    Acre Lane coffee house opposite Lidl deserves a mention if you're more interested in a decent fry up instead of the 'ambiawnse' of Goya at a very reasonable price. Run by two brothers its a cafe of the plastic seated variety and tbh the seats are a little close together;but you do get fast, friendly service and a diverse menu (for a fry up cafe). Useful for those that want to eat as opposed to being 'seen'.
  8. Streathamite

    Streathamite ideological dogmatist

    there is a little gem on Ladywell Rd, ladywell. It's called "life" (and Mine Host is clearly on a hippy tip!). daytime food is first-rate fry-ups, sarnies etc-but at night it becomes a thai joint. Out of the way (unless you're down my way!) but damn good-friendly, clean, ace food.
  9. Hollis

    Hollis Bloody furious

    London Café, Turnpike Lane

    The London Café, Turnpike Lane.. is a great place to hang out for an hour or so. Located next to the tube station, the building is a gem of 1930s architecture.

    The clientele mainly consists of men, students, and couples. But with plenty of tables, you needn’t feel threatened of having your personal space invaded. – A selection of broadsheet & tabloid newspapers are available to read.

    The café itself has a wide-ranging menu. With all selections the quality of the grease is guaranteed. For vegetarians, the ‘bubble’ is simply a café must. – The chef will also accommodate ‘off the menu’ choices, such as ‘scrambled egg on 2 toast’.

    Feeling dined & refreshed you have the choice of exploring Green Lanes, taking in some air on Duckett’s Common, or catching up with some shopping in the newly refurbished Shopping City.


    miss direct likes this.
  10. secretsquirrel

    secretsquirrel Respectable married lady

    indeed, hollis - the london cafe does possess a 'unique' charm!

    can i add the arnos cafe situated in the beautiful environs of the north circular just past the turning for brownlow rd by bounds green - this is the dogs proverbials in terms of sheer volume of food to price ratio - they do fab bubble and a great cup of frothy cafe coffee

    also ... now we is posh and living in the desirable part of palmers green, go to the station cafe which (funnily enough) is by palmer's green station - in fact, there's an entrance to it from the station itself - superb food - everything from greasy spoon to salads to vino to great coffee to full meals to big cakes bought from the farmers market next door - great thing on a sunday is stroll up to farmers market in station car park, buy lots of lovely food, go into cafe and buy lots more lovely food and finish off with a stroll across the triangle (eccentric opening hours permitting) to go to pahit ice - a full on old fashioned ice cream parlour with all homemade flavours which you can have made into any combo of milkshake for £2 - they also do take home tubs and loads of pancakes

    collapse from sheer weight of food consumed but die happy

  11. editor

    editor hiraethified

    London Café, Turnpike Lane

    With the greatest of respect, you appear to be living in a parallel universe to me or - I hope - taking the piss.

    I know that café well and would be very hard pushed to describe it as a 'gem of 1930s architecture' - more like a scruffy, smokey phlegm palace.

    The coffee's shit and and Ducketts Common outside is a nasty, chip-wrapper-strewn scrap of land, while Wood Green Shopping Centre is one of the most ghastly modern shopping 'experiences' to be found anywhere on the planet.
  12. secretsquirrel

    secretsquirrel Respectable married lady

    oi! you leave shopping city / wood green high st alone - they have a very high quality of pound shop i'll have you know and are great for rummaging around on a saturday afternoon to the delicate sound of police sirens and the pounding of bass emitting from souped up beemers driven with all the atttiude that can be mustered at a top speed of 5mph in a traffic jam

    sorry, but i like it in an 'urban' kind of a way
  13. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Pillock of the Community

    The Workman's Inn, Blackstock Road. Will do everything you expect of a proper caff, nice and cheap, and they make the tea in the proper way of filling the mug right up and then tipping half of it out and adding milk. Located opposite the King's Head (more or less) and as long as you aren't going in there in full Totnum kit screaming GLORY GLORY TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, it's a good place for away fans to grab a bite if they're visiting Highbury. It's also run by a Spermz fan, which is good for comic relief.

    I'd also be a bit lax if I didn't mention Tony's Hemp Cafe at the King's Cross end of Caledonian Road, opposite Housman's. Not had a chance to actually go in there yet, but it looks very nice.

    Oh, and if Duckett's Common is the place I'm thinking of, it's a shithole. It's never looked better than when you can't see it under a thick covering of snow.
  14. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

    theres a boss one in lansdowne drive e8 whose name escapes me though.... has loads of old theatre adverts in it
  15. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    What's the point of this ? Sounds wasteful.

  16. Hollis

    Hollis Bloody furious

    Leaving aside the distraction of Duckett's Common, the London Cafe is - in its own way - one of my favourite cafes! Its especially good on Sunday afternoons, when you're coming down from 'things'.

    Now, if I'd really wanted to take the piss, several other cafes in Wood Green spring to mind.. such as the 'Eat Well Cafe' opposite Wood Green tube, and one behind the Shopping City..located in a portacabin.
  17. pooka

    pooka Can't Re Member

    Barbican Grill, Whitecross Street, near the Barbican.

    Very popular lunctime place - excellent value. Meat and two veg plus pudding type menu. Formica style. Run by Clerkenwell Italians - even the Shephards Pie has tomatos in it.

    Street market outside in Whitecross Street
  18. Uncle Damn

    Uncle Damn New Member

    Pete's caff at the top of Brixton Hill, along from the Telegraph pub, if its still there. Used to drive from Streatham for the fry ups when I was labouring there :)
  19. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Hokey, version 1 of the London cafe guide is now up and running: thanks to all who contributed!

    If there's any fantastic cafés missing, please post them up here - but I'll need their full details, and don't forget, I'm after exceptionally good cafés, not just alright ones.

    You'll notice I've introduced a 'rating' system - I don't think anyone's going to take it too seriously, but hopefully it might give a little more info - post up here if I've got one horrendously wrong.

    I haven't given many cafés the 'good vibes' icon because that's designed for cafés that are so good that you'll likely to spend hours there - so greasy spoons don't really qualify!
  20. pooka

    pooka Can't Re Member

    Ooops - I think you've C&P'ed my typos.

    Should be:

    Very popular lunchtime place - excellent value. Meat and two veg plus pudding type menu. Formica style. Run by Clerkenwell Italians - even the Shepherd's Pie has tomatoes in it
  21. XerxesVargas

    XerxesVargas formerly MrMalcontent

    The Workers Cafe, Holloway Rd ( Bout halfway between Highbury & Islington Tube and Holloway tube).

    They do great greasy spoon food, fry-ups and the like. THe atmosphere is ok, and they have papers. Oh and its cheap.
  22. Ron Merlin

    Ron Merlin Come back Alan, you wanker

    Re: London Café, Turnpike Lane

    LOL Ed! Brilliant! The coffeee there is truly vile. I lived 5 mins away from that place for a few years and went in there just the once, tried the coffee, nearly puked and was forced to seek solace in the more salubrious suroundings of wino/dogshit park also known as Duckett's Common.

    Apologies to Hollis for this, BTW ;)

    I'd recommend Banner's on Park Road in Crouch End. Their breakfasts are stupendous and you can have a lovely beer with them, if your guts are up to it.
  23. Spud Murphy III

    Spud Murphy III Housewives' choice

    There is also a London Cafe off Newington Green. It's clean and tidy inside, popular with workmen.


    In Islington: yes, The Shepherdess is good. Also the Angel Inn by Angel Islington is good. The best in that area is Alpino on Chapel Market. It's worth a look just to check out the 1930s decor.

    Along Holloway Road: the Highbury Cafe is good and has been there a long time. On the wall is one of their old menus from the 1950s. Further up is the Panda Restaurant, where the old dears go. Good for school-dinner type puddings.

    Camden: the New Goodfare restaurant on Parkway is the best. Family-run, the capo di capo here is about 60 but dyes his hair black and wears plenty of medallions. Other cafe owners know him well - he is a 'character'. Past the Stables Market is John's Cafe, a good old-school workman's cafe. Nearer Camden tube is the Woody Grill, which looks like something out of Twin Peaks. By Camden Road station is the Parma: this has recently had a refit and looks a bit bland inside but has a lively atmosphere.

    Euston: Eversholt Street has plenty of cafes. The Victory Cafe is run by an old Sicilian couple, very friendly. Further up is the Double Six, which has a cosy snug bit at the back. Conspiratorial atmosphere, popular with cabbies. There's also a weird-looking one run by an Irish bloke - name eludes me right now - but the front of it looks like an old wooden shack. You sit on a raised platform inside. Off Drummond Street is the Piccolo Snack Bar. As the name suggests, it's pretty small inside but nice old-time feel.

    The best cafe on Chalton Street nearby is the Pinner, run by Turks. Popular with workmen and RMT officials. Round the corner is the Golden Tulip, run by Dennis and his extended family. A nice community feel here, lots of people nip in and out during the day for a yack.

    Kings Cross: two good cafes have been lost here recently: the Railway (underneath St Pancras Station) and Bar Uno, formerly the Beehive, formerly the A1. The old lady, Maria, who ran it has now retired. The Modern Snack Bar has been revamped thanks to the Kings Cross Partnership and now looks crap. That leaves the Beano on Caledonian Road, which is tolerable, no more. Best to head south down the Farringdon Road to Muratori's, run by Gianni. Brilliant place, long history. Also the Kings Cafe near the sorting office is good, nice Turkish-style murals on the walls.

    West End: well-spotted the Regency, Epona. Quite spartan and masculine inside (pictures of boxers on the wall), but very good value. Nearby is the groovily-named Astral Cafe, though the name just comes from the block of flats above it, Astral House. Down Horseferry Road is the fine-looking Fiesta Sandwich Bar, with a beautiful old sign and nice squidgy orange vinyl fitted seating.


    Battersea: plenty along Battersea Park Road. Highly recommended is Dave's Diner and the famous Corelli's. Check out Corelli's beautiful sign in the shape of an ice-cream cornet. I'll mention the Jimmy Griddle solely because of the name. Further west is the imaginately named The Cafe, run by a bunch of friendly Turkish nutters. Good puddings. By the little market in Battersea High Street is Lito's Cafe, very old-school inside, lots of old geezers, run by Chinese or Vietnamese people. On Lavender Hill is the Lavender Restaurant: good grub, popular with indigenous locals, but the bloke who runs is a bit up himself.

    Peckham: the Star Cafe by Peckham Rye Park does a good mixed grill, and now and again an alright bit of roast beef or lamb. Big and echoey inside, once was a licensed restaurant, now struggles a bit later on in its lifecycle. At the other end of Rye Lane I recommend the Como Restaurant and the Criterion.

    Bloody hell I can think of loads more . . . anyway . . .

  24. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Should just mention the Regency Cafe in Regency Road, just off Horseferry Road (SW1) where it turns a corner.

    Spud likes it I know.

    <planned mention of Walworth area cafes edited cos Stg and I don't agree 100% about the merits of the Famous Walworth Road cafe ... :p >
  25. hammerntongues

    hammerntongues Well-Known Member

    Obsolete now cos its been closed for a couple of years but The Market Cafe just by The Ten Bells on the edge of EC3 ,I used to go in there on a regular basis for a good old fashioned Engish fry up and it was used by Gilbert and George every day, in fact the first time I went in there I thought i was seeing things as one of them ( dont know the diff ) was doing the washing up and the other was serving punters.
    Sadly gone the way of many city landmarks.
  26. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Bloody hell, Spud - you don't mess about when it comes to cafés! :)

    I'm currently enjoying the sea and (hazy) sun of St Ives, but I'll be sure to include your updates when I get chance to add more cafés to the page.


  27. corporate whore

    corporate whore oh, thought you were dead

    I bow to Spud's superior caff knowledge, but would like to big up, as t'were, Cafe Prov in both Herne Hill and Camberwell as somewhere you'd like to spend most of the day, if only for the quality of tunes. Bit on the pricy side, mond, but their weekend breakfast is a thinkg of rare beauty.

    Also the Blue Brick cafe (I think), a tiny place down a side street off Lordship Lane in East Dulwich and the Railway Cafe (again, could be mistaken) which is, oddly, next to Tulse Hill railway station. Both serve decent fry-ups at reasonable prices.
  28. Choc

    Choc Well-Known Member

    i haven' got any adresses within reach but burn to share. i think london is not superb for cafes but if you look out for them there are still a few good ones around. my favourites (on the really amazing level) are as follows.

    the 1101 just off bricklane is a trendy spacious (so usually still packed) cafe with amazing cakes and everything else you need in a great cafe. its location just around the corner from spitalfield market and next to bars, clubs and restaurants makes it a perfect place to hang around in during an eastend type of day. there is also often a dj playing music on weekends. go there if you need to be inspired about the latest londen fashion styles too!

    the ICA cafe is also an excellent species of its kind. it is easy to spend hours in there and superb to combine with a bit of contemporary culture. downside is you have to purchase a day membership to get in there.

    the brixton lido cafe. it is actually my top secret cafe so i will not say much more...the lounge cafe comes second favourit and the wine bar cafe (herne hill) third.
  29. JWH

    JWH Fnord Fiesta XR3i

  30. mains

    mains New Member

    buy my lunch there when I'm working up that way - that dyed rug is the business.

    'I'll see you in the cafe'

    'Which one?'

    'The one with the dyed syrup bloke'

    'oh, ok'

    His brother (balding Francis Truffaut lookalike) is a really nice bloke. His daughter is rather stern looking but all the more beautiful for it. They work their arses off in that place so give them your business when you're in Camden!

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