Tag Archives: cafes

Brixton – home to the next big thing in restaurants

I read recently that Honest Burgers has recently acquired a £7million investment from a venture capitalist in return for 50% of the business. It looks like the chain is destined for great things, with plans to open 5 new restaurants over the next 12 months

A similar success story is Franco Manca (no relation) whose sourdough pizza appears to be taking over south London. A branch opened in Balham recently and there are always queues outside the door.

What do they both have in common? Both originated in Brixton Village Market

What’s great about Brixton Market is the variety of shops, cafes, food stalls and restaurants, which all have a sense of character and individuality. Whatever you fancy – Brazilian, Portuguese, Thai, West Indian, you’ll find it here.

For foodies like myself, Brixton Market is at that perfect stage of development. It’s not become too mainstream. So far, there’s no sign of a Starbucks or Pizza Express setting up shop. Equally it’s not too hipster. Prices are still affordable and it’s not become too self-conscious.

My favourite is simply called Brixton Village Grill , a wonderful Portuguese influenced restaurant, but there again, I’ve still got a lot more to visit.

So, if you’re looking for the ‘next big thing’ in restaurants, come down to Brixton.

Here’s a nice film that Time Out put together which gives you a flavour of the place

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Bored with Starbucks? Try these instead

Not having an office, whenever I meet up with people I look out for somewhere a bit different, a bit more interesting. Most cafes you visit – be they a Starbucks or a Costa – are pretty much the same. Here’s a few of the more innovative cafes that I’ve come across recently.

1. The Micro-Roastery

I’m sure you know about micro-breweries, well, these follow the same principle. They source their own beans and roast them on the premises. Very much appealing to the coffee aficionado, there’s a strong emphasis on bean quality and interesting blends. Well known examples are Nude Espresso on Brick Lane, Caravan in Exmouth Market and Federation Coffee in Brixton

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2. The Cycle Cafe

These are cafes that specifically designed to cater for the growing hordes of cyclists in London. There’s quite a few of them around. I’ve previously  written about the Rapha Cafe in Soho. Other examples are Look Mum No Hands, which is much more than a cafe. It fixes bikes, sells beer and even has date nights. There’s also the Lock 7 Cycle Cafe in Hackney.

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3. The Music Cafe

These cafes are designed and famed for their link to music. Close to where I live in Streatham, there’s the Hideaway Jazz Cafe, from the Hideaway jazz venue. There’s also the Wilton Way cafe in Hackney home to a local radio station

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4. The Scandinavian Style Cafe

As fans of ‘The Bridge’ know, all things Scandi are very trendy nowadays, particularly their food culture. An example of this is the Nordic Bakery, in various central London locations which makes a refreshing change from Italian-style cafes. A quirkier Scandinavian cafe is Chase and Sorensen in Dalston, which combines a cafe with selling Danish vintage furniture

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5. The Time is Money Cafe

There’s a cafe on Old Street called Ziferblat, where they charge you 3p a minute from when you enter, but where everything you consume is free. It’s one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ ideas. They exist already in Russia, so expect more of them to appear in the future.

So, that’s my round up of London based cafes. If you’ve got any other examples of cool cafes I’d love to hear from you.

Our planet doesn’t need any more Starbucks