14 Cool Cafés For A Low-Key Lunch

14 Cool Cafés For A Low-Key Lunch

When you don’t fancy a full-blown meal, but need a good pit-stop, a really good café is the next best thing. Thankfully, the capital is full of Insta-friendly spots, where light dishes and covetable interiors create the ultimate relaxed backdrop. Here are some of our favourites…

Après Food Co, Clerkenwell

Après Food Co is a small, leafy café offering coffee and health-conscious breakfasts, lunches – and more recently – early dinners. Run by a duo with countless hours in nutritional therapy training, the menu uses fair-trade and organic produce, and never uses gluten or refined sugar. Not that you’ll notice when you’re eating it: when it comes to the menu, expect tasty dishes such as sweet potato and caramelised red onion hash, topped with a poached egg; courgette and sweetcorn fritters served with avocado, poached egg and red pepper chilli jam; and chicken noodles served with Thai peanut sauce.

72 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4DT

Visit ApresFood.com

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 the likes of 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

Aida Cafe, Shoreditch

Home of the Insta-famous rose latte (rose syrup, organic beetroot juice, milk, dried rose petals), Aida is located inside a vintage clothing store on Shoreditch High Street. Guests can take a seat at one of the long wooden tables, and choose between sipping classic coffees, fresh smoothies, organic pressed juices or the team’s speciality ‘wonder lattes’: matcha, turmeric, chai and rose, along with a selection of homemade cakes and pasties. We defy you to visit without being tempted by the homeware or jewellery sections of the store.

133 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JE

Visit AidaShoreditch.co.uk

Pear Tree Café, Battersea Park

In the middle of 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 and 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

Apres & Co
Apres & Co
Aida Cafe
Aida Cafe
Pear Tree Cafe
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 of their juices and Howling Hops is stocked in the beer fridge. Food across the board has a global influence (think everything from bao to tacos), while its 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 eponymous Sydney beach, this is an Aussie-inspired eatery – and one of the area’s most popular foodie destinations. When it comes to brunch, expect coddled eggs with sweet potato puree 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

E5 Bakehouse, London Fields

E5 Bakehouse is an east London artisan bakery and coffee shop, with a 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

Buhler + Co
Buhler + Co
Milk Beach
Milk Beach

Palm Vaults, Hackney

An influencer's paradise, and strong contender for the title of ‘London’s most Instagrammable café’, this brunch and coffee spot is decked out in entirely green and pink tones. From the Wes Anderson-style colour scheme to the cutesy cakes at the counter, everything here is designed with the Insta-crowd in mind. When it comes to food, Palm Vaults offers a vegetarian menu, where gluten-free and vegan options abound. We like that the team has a no laptop policy, and that dogs are more than welcome.

411 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1HY

Visit PalmVaults.com

Scarlett Green, Soho

Located in the centre of Soho, Scarlett Green draws upon 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

Good Life Eatery, St John’s Wood

Four years ago, Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros founded The Good Life Eatery. A fresh and healthy addition to the neighbourhood’s food scene, the St John’s Wood spot opened in 2019. A delicious all-day menu features the team’s own line of cold-pressed juices and smoothies, plus gluten-, dairy- and meat-free options. Expect to find everything from acai bowls and chestnut and almond waffles to avocado on toast seven ways and ‘skinny’ eggs benedict. We like to savour one of the cold-pressed juices while admiring the views from nearby St John's Wood Church Gardens.

1 St John's Wood High Street, NW8 7NG

Visit GoodLifeEatery.com

Palm Vaults
Palm Vaults
E5 Bake House
E5 Bake House
Scarlett Green
Scarlett Green

Kin Cafe, Fitzrovia

Kin Cafe offers fresh and healthy food in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. To keep it interesting for regulars, there’s an ever-changing menu that 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 kick-start.

22 Foley Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6DT

Visit KinCafe.co.uk

Farm Girl Cafe, Various Locations

With cafés in Chelsea, Notting Hill and Soho, Farm Girl offers a bright, casual spot for health-conscious breakfasts and smoothies. Kick things off with something from its extensive selection of coffees (anyone for a ‘Liquid Gold Latte’?) and a fresh watermelon juice, before choosing between the likes of turmeric birchers (oats soaked with turmeric, honey, cinnamon, sesame seeds and almond milk, topped with candied nuts and strawberries) or buckwheat pancakes with amber maple syrup, topped with mixed berries and coconut shavings.

59 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 3DB; 1 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9QG; 9 Park Walk, Chelsea, SW10 0AJ

Visit TheFarmGirl.co.uk

WA Café, Ealing

WA Café is a small, independent patisserie in Ealing Broadway. In the kitchen, highly skilled Japanese bakers produce a selection of quintessentially Japanese breads and pastries each day. Colourful rows of pristine pastries sit alongside freshly baked buns and breads, while premium teas and coffee are served in beautiful crockery to complement the distinctly Japanese creations. We love the white sesame cheesecake.

32 Haven Green, Ealing Broadway, W5 2NX

Visit WACafe.co.uk

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