Sunday, 15 May 2011

A review of The Gallery Cafe

St. Margaret's House, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9PL

The Gallery Cafe happens to be located around the corner from Bethnal Green station and the Childhood Museum, which means it’s also on the way to my sister’s flat. Having walked past it many a time and noted that it’s usually busy at most times of day, I was confident that there must be a good reason for this. I wasn’t wrong.

Finally getting around to stopping off for an afternoon coffee, I wasn’t intending to supplement my caffeine hit with a snack. However, their vegetarian and vegan menu was so tempting that I couldn’t help but order a little taster – all in the name of research of course.

We had iced lattes as it was a rather balmy afternoon, and sat outside underneath the cheery multicoloured bunting sunning ourselves in the late afternoon heat. The clientele seemed mixed with some trendy east-London types perched next to ‘ladies that lunch’ and mums with excitable children just collected from school.

The fact that the cafe is part of St. Maragaret's House - a charity organisation which rents space for community organisations and charities at affordable prices - helped take the edge off my guilt for ordering a snack between meals as I knew my cash was helping to support worthwhile work in the community. And as soon as our delicious Mezze Plate of olives, falafel, haloumi, sundried tomatoes, humus and toasted tortilla wrap turned up I forgot any residue of guilt straight away.

The coffee was delicious and the food tasty, generous and expertly put together. Two of us shared the mezze plate and couldn’t finish despite willing our stomachs to accommodate the last morsels of grilled haloumi and humus.

As well as being a great cafe to stop and eat, drink and generally be merry, the Gallery Cafe hosts a range of music and other events and is open seven days a week. So, if you come along in the evening there’s bound to be some kind of entertainment on offer.

St Margaret’s House also recently opened the Create Place a few units down Old Ford Road. A space designed to bring local artists, craft enthusiasts, designers, makers and complete beginners together under one roof to share ideas, learn, teach and be inspired to create, the Create Place is a welcome addition to their portfolio of social enterprises. They have all sorts of classes on every week as well as drop-in sessions – check them out here.

You can find out more about St Margret’s House on their website. The Gallery Cafe is also on Facebook and Twitter.

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