London has its fair share of specialty coffee shops, but it’s in East London that you’ll find the roasteries, cafés, and baristas that are really pushing the boat. Whilst there are countless coffee shops that I frequent, not all consistently provide quality service, and exceptional coffee and food. Here, I’ve curated my favorite establishments across a range of East London neighborhoods that never fail to impress.
Attendant’s original spot in Fitzrovia is a cozy, renovated Victorian underground toilet, but their second branch in Shoreditch is a much sleeker, spacious affair. There are multiple reasons why this is one of my favorite coffee shops in Shoreditch — the hanging plants and natural light that floods the space, the free WiFi, the extensive brunch menu (served all day, every day) — the list goes on. Whether you’re working alone or visiting with friends, Attendant is the kind of place where one could easily while away a few hours without noticing the time pass. House-roasted coffee, inventive brunch dishes such as Japanese Avocado Toast (far superior to your average avo-toast, in my opinion), and their mouth-watering Salted Caramel French Toast will keep you coming back for more.
Friends of Ours
In recent years, London’s brunch scene has escalated tenfold in popularity and quality, and Friends of Ours was one of the original coffee shops of this movement. This Hoxton spot often has hour-long queues on the weekends, but it’s well worth the wait. You can taste the care and emphasis on quality put into every dish on their seasonal-changing menu. From Asian-inspired fried chicken bao to ricotta hotcakes, you’ll find a range of innovative and tasty options, served by staff who are always keen to please.
Tucked away on a narrow street just off Shoreditch High Street in a space that looks more like an art gallery than a café, CREAM would be easy for one to unknowingly walk past without popping inside … and what a mistake that would be! This coffee shop owned by Protein Studios is the epitome of Shoreditch cool — from the industrial interiors to the tattoo-covered, beanie-wearing baristas. The menu changes daily (based on seasonal produce and the whim of the head chef) and never disappoints. From the creamiest scrambled eggs to a range of homemade cakes and sandwiches, everything tastes fresh and delicious.
Set up as an homage to the owner’s late father, this coffee shop’s original branch just by the Old Street roundabout operates as an all-day patisserie, café, and design store with a strong emphasis on quality and presentation. However, it’s their smaller, second branch on Broadway Market that is my personal favorite — a dessert bar careful to maintain the original store’s high standards. From their bright pink storefront to the sleek marble countertop, each detail of Sans Pere appeals to the visual eye. However, unlike so many “Instagrammable” London cafés, Sans Pere isn’t just about style over substance – their knowledgeable baristas pour perfect flat whites, while homemade pastries such as a coconut and peanut butter croissants melt in your mouth.
The Good Egg
A neighborhood favorite in the heart of Stoke Newington, the Good Egg serves a brunch menu that encompasses the flavors of Tel Aviv “by way of Montreal” every day. Feast on Middle Eastern-inspired brunch items such as warm flatbread served with labneh, halloumi bites fried in honey, and marinated aubergine. A successful crowdfunding campaign supported the recent launch of their second branch in Soho, as well as their involvement in social enterprises such as Cook for Syria. Make sure to order a warm slice of their home-baked chocolate babka, paired perfectly with a hot coffee.
My last recommendation is the wonderful Rawduck café in my favorite east London neighborhood. After a stroll across London Fields park, take a seat at one of the long shared tables inside this spacious, industrial café. The Asian-inspired menu has flavorful and filling offerings such as Japanese Nori bowl and chili sambal avocado toast, and the atmosphere is lively and full of East London locals on the weekends.