Hackney top 10: our favourite cafés
This small, unassuming stall in Gillett Square is run by the affable Markus who serves Ethiopian coffee imported directly from his wild-coffee plantation in Kaffa. Roasted on site every morning, the best time to stop by is Saturday when the coffee is traditionally prepared in a beautiful clay jebena (kettle) heated on a charcoal stove that sends out wafts of smoke.
Clapton café with picture windows looking onto Lee Valley Park, a cosy quirky interior flooded with light, and homemade Swedish specials on the menu: try pytt i panna (‘bits in a pan’, akin to a full English breakfast), råraka (crispy potato cake) and kanelbullar (their fabulous trademark cinnamon buns).
Tucked under a brick railway arch near London Fields, the Bakehouse café serves sourdough sandwiches, cakes and coffee, plus hot dishes at lunch and pizza on Sundays. You can watch dough being pummelled and kneaded in the bakery at the back, where they run excellent breadmaking courses.
This traditional British caff, established in 1935, is still run by Arthur – who has been serving here since 1948 – and his grandson. It’s a great stop for an unfussy full English breakfast, and they also do sandwiches and hot lunches.
This sustainable café is in the unlikely but dramatic surrounds of the Castle Climbing Centre. Much of the food comes from the kitchen garden, and it’s all delicious and affordable: just £3 for soup and bread.
Brace yourself for the fantastical decor here, with acres of brocade, phoney Old Masters, ornate mirrors and lamps and throne-like gilded seats: the effect is gypsy caravan meets shabby stately home. Feast on Turkish pastries and baklava, great coffee and cakes – and booze.
Colourful decor, a lovely farmyard setting and a serious attitude to food; on Thursdays there is ‘agriturismo’, with a menu of seasonal Italian food plus live music.
This small corner café employs local artists to imaginatively revamp the decor every six weeks, as well as the wall outside. The coffee and pastries are pretty good too.
With a canalside pontoon overlooking the Olympic Stadium, the Counter Café serves up hearty lunches and brunches and excellent coffee. It’s set inside Stour Space studios, a brilliant showcase for Hackney Wick’s artist community with an appealing exhibition space and shop.
A bistro/café featuring solid northern European decor: red leather benches, vintage bistro chairs and sage-green tiles. Mix and match Eggs Florentine, Benedict, Royal and Leopold, and on Sunday sample homemade Finnish cinnamon buns.