I enjoy trying out cafés. I love it when I find a small independent café that does not only serve great coffee with baked treats, or great brunches, but also has wonderful ambience and customer service. When it comes to London, like many cities around the world, one is spoiled for choice. The below six are my favourites from the ones I tried out several times during my wanderings.
- Ground Control Café:
I was walking along Amwell Street one lovely Spring morning, when I came across this little gem of a coffee shop. Conveniently located to where I lived then, Ground Control in Islington serves great Ethiopian coffee and delicious baked treats. Bustling with a constant flow of customers mostly from the neighbourhood coming in for coffee to go, the more I visited the place, the more I felt a sense of community around the coffee shop and the street. The café soon became my favourite coffee place in London. As exam time approached and I avoided the packed university library, I found it easier to do my reading here. The staff was friendly and welcoming of my spending a few hours there each morning, studying at my little corner at the window, taking short breaks for boosts of coffee and a cardamom brownie or almond croissant or a lunch of toasties and a little chat. When I had to move to another neighbourhood for the summer break, this was the place that I missed the most in Angel.
- FreeState Coffee:
When I came across this coffee place on Southampton Row, I immediately liked the decor of the cafe and of course, the coffee. I was introduced to the V60 drip and piccolo here. As FreeState was conveniently located near Holborn, this was the place that I usually suggested for meeting with friends and acquaintances. I also came here to catch up on my reading sometimes.
- Counter Cafe
One of my friends, Fatma, enjoys exploring and reviewing restaurants and cafes. She found this cafe in Hackney Wick and organized a brunch meet up here one weekend. It took me nearly an hour, and a change of two buses, to travel to this place and when I saw what looked like a warehouse at the end of an empty street, I wondered why anyone would want to travel so far to have a sunday morning brunch here. I tried their food and felt that it was the best brunch I had in a long while. Despite the distance, their food alone pulled me back a couple of times before I left London. The canal side cafe and roastery, with views of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, shares building space with an art gallery and workshop.
- FoxCroft & Ginger
Cruffins were what drew me to this cafe in Soho. As I had never tried them before and an online article mentioned that their cruffins sold out each morning very quickly, I had to try them out. The cruffins were delicious but I also found that they had a delicious brunch and lunch menu, which included a delicious kimchi burger.
Bagariet in Covent garden is actually a bakery with a tiny seating area, where you can enjoy fika, with a cup of Swedish coffee and baked treat. Ever since I was introduced to kanelbullar in Stockholm back in 2000, I am quite fussy about cinnamon buns matching the Swedish taste. So, I was delighted to find this little bakery hidden away in Rose street.
Photo credit: Fatma Al-Baiti@Fatma vs Food
I had read great reviews about this place and so, one day, some friends and I decided to try the one in Covent Garden. The cafe, styled on the Irani cafes of Bombay, is a visual treat with old photos from Bombay crowding the walls. They also serve tasty food and great spicy chai. It is an all-day cafe/ restaurant, with a few branches around the city, and which gets crowded in the evenings so best to make a reservation in advance.
What are your favourite cafes in London?
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