12 Cool Cafés For A Low-Key Lunch
12 Cool Cafés For A Low-Key Lunch

12 Cool Cafés For A Low-Key Lunch

London dining doesn’t always come cheap, but if you’re after something low key and casual, the capital has plenty of cafés to choose from where light dishes and stylish interiors create the ultimate relaxed backdrop. Here are some of our favourites…
By Heather Steele
Image: HALLY'S
Potter & Reid
Potter & Reid

Potter & Reid, Spitalfields

A cool new café popped up in Spitalfields this spring. Founders Agnes Potter and Dani Reid are veterans of London’s specialty coffee scene (they met at Allpress) and have firm opinions about what a neighbourhood café should be. Unfussy yet chic, Potter & Reid is all about outstanding coffee and low-key dining, along the lines of current London hotspots Café Deco and Café Cecilia. The menu, which is available from breakfast until 5pm, is headed up by the pair’s friend Eleni Thoma, who has worked for the likes of Towpath Cafe, Honey & Co and Ombra. With a subtle tilt towards Italian ingredients and dishes, lunch consists of a couple of sandwich choices (currently mortadella, smoked scamorza, shaved fennel and caper mayo; or tortilla, winter tomato and aioli) as well as a chalk board of weekly changing dishes such as spiced ribs, chickpeas and greens with strained yoghurt.

20-22 Toynbee Street, Spitalfields, E1 7NE

Follow @PotterAndReid

Rose Bakery, St James’s

In the chic environs of Dover Street Market, Rose Bakery is a cool, minimalist haunt that serves refined teas, inventive savoury dishes and delicious cakes. Owned by husband-and-wife team Rose and Jean, it offers the likes of hazelnut and courgette soup; Burmese cod with savoy cabbage, radish and ginger; followed by a homemade gelato and sorbet selection. Make sure to grab one of the team’s signature loaf cakes on the way out, which are so popular they’re now available for click and collect (we’d recommend the rose, almond and lemon flavour).

18-22 Haymarket, St James’s, SW1Y 4DG

Visit RoseBakeryLondon.com

The Dusty Knuckle, Dalston

Tucked away behind Dalston Junction station in a sunny courtyard, The Dusty Knuckle serves some of the best food in the area, and at great value. Predominantly offering pastries and bread, you can also order the likes of roasted beetroot, whipped goat’s cheese, toasted seed mix and salsa verde served in focaccia sourdough. Want to learn how to make your own? The Dusty Knuckle Bakery School hosts a selection of masterclasses – and you’ll go home with a goody bag including a dough scraper, recipe pack and some of The Dusty Knuckle’s sourdough starter so you can recreate fresh loaves at home.

Abbot Street, Dalston, E8 3DP

Visit TheDustyKnuckle.com

Rose Bakery

Farm W5, Ealing

Farm W5 is well known among Ealing locals for its farm-to-fork ethos. The team chops, cooks and bakes everything itself, making sure its food is wholesome and made from the best quality ingredients, with no added sugar, preservatives, gelatine or artificial flavourings. The menu includes king-sized wraps filled with grilled chicken, garlic aubergine yogurt, rice and potatoes. Diners can also buy healthy, farm-fresh produce and artisan treats from the restaurant’s in-house deli.

19 The Green, Ealing, W5 5DA

Visit TheFarmW5.co.uk

Pear Tree Café, Battersea Park

In Battersea Park, right on the river, Pear Tree Café has been a favourite fixture of south London locals since it was opened by Annabel Partridge and Will Burrett in 2016. The café offers beautiful views across the boating lake, as well as a seasonally changing menu in a relaxed setting. When it comes to food, this place has credentials: Annabel and Will met at Petersham Nurseries where they worked with head chef Skye Gyngell, with whom they then went on to open Spring at Somerset House. Expect to find the likes of grilled rump steak sandwich with horseradish cream and onion jam; sweet potato and chickpea curry with grilled flatbread; and roasted pumpkin toast with feta on the menu.

Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ

Visit PearTreeCafe.co.uk

Pear Tree Cafe

Hally's, Parsons Green

Hally's ethos is all about serving healthy, Californian-inspired food using organic and ethical produce as much as possible. Kitted out like a Californian beach house (complete with reclaimed wood floors, pastel-dipped chairs, white clapboarding and neon signage) it offers a fresh, bright atmosphere which makes guests want to linger from breakfast to afternoon tea. Within, you’ll find Monmouth organic coffee, craft beer and affordable world wine. Expect daily changing salads, an array of delicious cakes and US favourites such as pulled pork and burgers. It's dog friendly too – owner Anna's Irish terrier, Arthur, is a regular.

60 New King's Road, Fulham, SW6 4LS

Visit HallysLondon.com

Buhler and Co, Walthamstow

This bright neighbourhood spot in Walthamstow brings together myriad local suppliers to create a top-notch place to relax with a coffee: SL favourite Climpson & Sons supplies the coffee, milk comes from The Estate Dairy, Seven Seeded bakes its bread, sodas come from Square Roots, Chegworth Valley and Moju drop off their juices and Howling Hops is in the beer fridge. Food has a global influence (think everything from bao to tacos), while the walls play host to ever-changing exhibitions.

8 Chingford Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PJ

Visit BuhlerAndCo.com

Milk Beach, Queen’s Park

Milk Beach is a café and natural wine bar in Queen’s Park. Named after the Sydney beach, this is an Aussie-inspired eatery – and one of the area’s most popular foodie destinations. When it comes to brunch, choose from coddled eggs with sweet potato purée and sourdough soldiers, or banana bread with espresso cream cheese. In the evenings, come back for natural wines and small plates, including beef cheek pappardelle and Shaoxing poached bass.

19 Lonsdale Road, Queen's Park, NW6 6RA                                         

Visit MilkBeach.com

Milk Beach

E5 Bakehouse, London Fields

E5 Bakehouse is an east London artisan bakery and coffee shop, with a specific focus on sourdough. Using organic, locally sourced ingredients, the team serves daily baked breads, lunch, homemade cakes (the bakewell tart is to die for) and coffee from its own roast house. Inspired? Once a week, the head bakers share their knowledge and expertise in a weekly bread course – make sure to book ahead.

395 Mentmore Terrace, London Fields, E8 3PH

Visit E5Bakehouse.com

Scarlett Green, Soho

In the centre of Soho, Scarlett Green draws on Melbourne and Sydney café culture to deliver all-day Antipodean-inspired food and cocktails. The kitchen moves effortlessly from brunch and healthy lunchtime dishes to innovative evening sharing plates centred around a custom-made Josper grill – we like the halloumi fries with mint and pomegranate yoghurt. Elsewhere, the bar serves up perfectly executed flat whites and fresh smoothies from 7am and shifts up a gear to become a buzzing late-night bar complete with cocktails and the capital’s largest Australian wine list, accompanied by live acoustic music and DJ sets.

4 Noel Street, Soho, W1F 8GB

Visit DaisyGreenFood.com

E5 Bakehouse

Scarlett Green

Kin Cafe, Fitzrovia

Kin Cafe offers fresh and healthy food in a comfortable and friendly space. To keep it interesting for regulars, an ever-changing menu focuses on vegetarian dishes, with strong vegan offerings as well as gluten-free and raw options. Breakfast and brunch combine hearty favourites such as cauliflower rosti with roasted cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and vegan mayo, alongside a selection of toast and sandwiches, speciality coffees and organic juices. Sticking to the healthy ethos, expect various seasonal pots containing superfoods, nuts and fruits to give your day the perfect kickstart.

22 Foley Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6DT

Visit KinCafe.co.uk

Towpath Café, Hackney

A lot has changed since Towpath first rolled up its shutters ten years ago on the Regent’s Canal in Hackney – a time when everything but the toasted cheese sandwich was cooked from home across the bridge. However, it’s still a relatively secret spot that’s loved by locals – and it still closes every winter. On a perch beside the east London canal, this is the place to head if you want a relaxed meal in a vibrant neighbourhood. Whether you’re planning a party or a long lunch, make sure to order extensively from the regularly changing menu, which includes dishes like taramasalata, radishes and toast; brown shrimp with capers, rocket and mint; and goats’ curd and garlic.

42 De Beauvoir Crescent, Hackney, N1 5SB

Visit TowpathLondon.com

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