Here’s Abby Holmes’ pick of the best cafés to guarantee you great coffee, cake and more…
The Yellow Warbler
As soon as you wander into the Yellow Warbler, you almost feel like you’ve stumbled into a mates house. The guys behind the counter offer up a very local vibe, casually chatting to everyone, all the while whipping up unrivalled coffee sourced from their trusted suppliers. They make it look easy, but once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never want to go back to mediocre coffee again. Add to this, their small but perfectly formed menu which includes fresh pastries and brunch with a South American style, such as delicious Venezuelan aprepitas de cachapa (sweetcorn fritters) served with a Zingy Salsa and grilled halloumi and you’ve got yourself a local haunt which is hard to beat.
9 Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, N16 7HL
Lizzy’s on the Green
When Lizzy’s opened on Newington Green five years ago, Lizzy turned what was a tired cafe into a hub for the community. Lizzy quickly drew in devoted customers with her divinely smooth Alchemy coffee, that is consistently good day after day (from someone who knows!). Then, to make sure they just couldn’t walk past her alfresco cafe in the middle of the green, Lizzy had delicious bacon smells wafting throughout the park as she was whipping up her sublime bacon baps. Add avo if you desire. As well as this and other staples such as smashed avo, you’ll find Lizzy and her devoted team in the kitchen cooking up seasonal dishes daily, as well as treats like salted caramel brownies. Lizzy is one of the friendliest people you could ever meet and never fails to make you feel better when you rock up in the morning pre-coffee! It’s no surprise Lizzy’s has won various Time Out awards including best cafe in Stoke Newington.
Newington Green, Mildmay Ward, N16 9PX
Even if you’re not a coffee lover, a good cafe should most definitely begin with good coffee. That’s because if a cafe takes its coffee seriously, then it will do the same with its food. Esters is one such cafe. Tucked away behind bustling Church street, each time you visit, you feel like you’ve uncovered a little gem that not everyone knows about. You also feel you kind of want to keep it that way. Cosy but somehow finding enough room for everyone, this cafe prides itself on doing everything well. Using trusted roasters for their coffee and local supplies for their ingredients to serve up delicious brunches which are a little twist on what you’d expect are what make this cafe a standout. The bircher muesli strawberry-rhubarb compote, house yoghurt & pistachios is one such dish. Shhhhh, let’s just keep it between us.
The Coal House Cafe
As you walk through the Woodberry Wetlands towards the Coal House Café, you can’t help but immediately feel relaxed. Somehow the water has a calming effect and you just feel like sitting outside the cafe and taking the time to just sit and well, relax. There’s also an indoor seating area inside the 19th Century Grade II listed, you guessed it, former coal house, not to mention a rooftop patio with stunning views over both Reservoirs. The cafe is run by the wetlands and serves up a lovely menu of standard brunch and lunch fare, done simply and sourced locally. The poached eggs and salmon are a favourite and the decent kids menu is popular. Pastries, coffee and cakes are there to tempt, not to mention yummy ice cream. Visit and you’ll almost feel like you’ve been on some sort of holiday, or at the least a mini break from urban East London.
Woodberry Wetlands West Entrance via New River Path Lordship Road
Just like the owner Andi Oliver (former judge of the Great British Menu) this café welcomes you in immediately. You can just tell it’s got heart and bucket loads of agnst to do good, healthy food well. With a smile. Open all day for brunch, lunch and dinner, Andis offers everything from delicious baked eggs to slightly naughty French toast and these amazing energy bowls where you can mix and match grains and proteins to create your own bowl of healthy deliciousness. An energy bowl with roasted veggies, salad, avocado, lamb, quinoa and whipped feta yoghurt is a stand out. Dinner has yet to be tried, but we’ve heard great things. Andi is usually there, always laughing with customers and checking over her kitchen. Busy and dedicated, but oh so very welcoming. And real. Which very much sums up what this little delight is all about.
176 Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0JL
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