Esin #4: Your Local Caf’

Station Cafe

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Posted 02/10/14
By Esin Huseyin


The cafe is synonymous for two different things, depending on your location: it’s your elegant nonchalant stop off for a coffee before you continue your day, in Paris. If you’re in London however, you head down to your local caf’ for a greasy fry up to start your day. Stereotypes I know, but it’s an attitude that society leans towards, nonetheless.

This week I’m bringing you a post that’ll inspire and motivate you to love your local caf’ again, a post that will hopefully change your view of what a cafe should be.

I recently visited Station Cafe which funnily enough is just down the road from Plaistow station, pretty much in the heart of the East End, and not even too far from Upton Park (which if you don’t know is the home ground of West Ham football club). Considering it was a cafe, we still got table service, received our food pretty quick, and it even tasted bluddy good. So why do people hold Cafe’s with such disdain?

If you find the hidden gems, you can find some pretty incredible food, and at a more reasonable price. Isn’t street food essentially cooked and served in the same way, but with a whopping bill? Of course you could argue that street food may resource their ingredients from somewhere “better”, but the truth is you don’t know the ins and out until you investigate further.

Even if you don’t agree that the food quality of cafe’s is up to par, what they stand for must be something that you agree with –  it’s pretty much the pinnacle of old school socialising, and goes hand in hand with your local pub. The idea of popping in for a nice hearty “home cooked” breakfast, and knowing who’s serving you is something that is slowly dying out; but that is trying to be rekindled through independent pop-ups, for me I see that as a way of trying to get a personality or character back in to the food industry, which in some ways I feel was lost.

But this friendly faced local, informal and quick service that the cafe represents is catching on; VQ is a 24 hour cafe/diner which has 2 branches, it’s almost as if they’ve given the cafe of the early 1990’s a facelift. Bill’s classes themselves as a restaurant, but actually their most popular time of the day is pretty much breakfast, so I guess the cafe did something right. Most cafe’s also serve a vegetarian option – so nobody needs to be left out.

Wouldn’t it be great if we moved our morning business meetings to something a little more, London?