Hornbeam Cafe, E17 9AH
- 020 8558 6880
- 458 Hoe Street, E17 9AH
- closed Mon; 10am-5pm Tue-Wed; 11:30am-5pm Thu; 10am-5pm Fri-Sun
Volunteer-run community cafe in Walthamstow.
The community centre that houses the cafe was opened by local activists in 1992, and it continues to be run with volunteers. The kitchen is run by a group called Norman Loves, and offers a small (3-4 dishes) and frequently-changing menu of vegetarian and vegan food, including breakfast. The vegetables come from the OrganicLea growers' co-op.
The decor is cheerful and cosy. A sofa and easy chair near the door are flanked by a low coffee table, and the rest of the space is filled with upright chairs and tables seating around a dozen people. A noticeboard is covered with posters and flyers advertising local events, some of them (such as a knitting group) taking place within the cafe. There is free wifi.
Kake and friend visited on a Wednesday lunchtime in August 2010. When we arrived around 1pm, there were a couple of free tables, but these filled up during our visit. Service was a little haphazard, though this is possibly because we were there at the peak of lunchtime trade. My gado gado (£4.75) photo was quite tasty, consisting of cooked potato and cauliflower along with raw carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and leafy greens; the peanut dressing had a pleasing consistency too. My friend was a little less pleased with her polenta and mixed vegetable pie (£4.75 including three salads) photo, finding the choice of vegetables not entirely to her taste and some of the leaves in the green salad a little bitter, though she enjoyed the polenta, the accompanying new potatoes, and the tomato-cucumber salad.
secretlondon and a couple of friends visited in September 2015. I had fried potatoes with greens and fried egg (£5.20) photo which was fine and a friend had daal photo which she thought needed more spice. I had some lovely lime and berry cake. They also sell Left Bank Brewery beer and London Glider cider — we didn't try either of these, but they were both £3/bottle.
Accessibility: A ramp to get in. It's on one level once you're in, and there's a spacious, accessible toilet cubicle.