Picture of Communitea, SE25 6EA

Communitea, SE25 6EA

Vegetarian cafe and community space in South Norwood. It opened in May 2018.

It's a small space, but has an open, uncluttered feel, aided by the floor-to-ceiling front window and plain-painted walls. Tables are reclaimed planks atop iron frames, and seating is a mix of upholstered stools and banquettes with colourful yellow plastic bucket seats. At the very back is a small nook containing a few groceries and large jars of herbs, spices, and dry goods sold by weight.

The menu is entirely vegetarian with vegan options including vegan cakes and a choice of plant milks for coffee/tea. Order and pay at the counter, and they'll bring it to your table.

Kake has visited several times now, most recently in February 2020. On a Monday lunchtime in August 2018 there was just one other customer when I arrived a little before 1pm, though a couple of others arrived while I was there. On a Monday morning in the same month I was the first customer at their (then) opening time of 8am, with another turning up after an hour or so. On a Friday lunchtime in September 2019 it was pretty lively, with all tables (though not all seats) taken at 12:15pm. Indian vocal music was playing on all our visits, not too loud, and service was friendly and helpful.

The "good sandwich" (£4.50 in August 2018) photo lived up to its name. The bread was a soft but robust wholemeal, and the filling was a well-balanced combination of hummus, avocado, and competently roasted vegetables. The vegetables consisted of aubergine, courgette, mushroom, red onion, and mixed sweet peppers, and had been marinated with things including scotch bonnet pepper, turmeric, and lemon before roasting, giving a good flavour and just a hint of chilli. The accompanying side salad included cucumber, tomato, and a fresh and varied selection of leaves, and was dressed with a light but flavourful dressing based on good quality olive oil and scattered with tangy sumac.

A bagel with cream cheese and avocado (£2.80 in August 2018) photo was simple but well-prepared, with a good balance of ingredients and toasted just right.

In September 2019, "fulosophy" (ful mudames; £5.50 including bread) photo had perfectly softened beans, a good mix of mashed and whole, intermingled with pieces of lightly cooked onion that retained just enough crunch for a good textural contrast. A drizzle of tahini on top went really well. Flatbread on the side was perhaps a little too chewy for Kake's taste, but this is more of a personal preference than a criticism.

Iced cranberry and hibiscus tea (£1.80 in August 2018) was offered with a choice of sweetener (honey or sugar) or none. It was made properly — brewed strong then chilled and diluted with plenty of ice, and I was tempted to stay for a second one.

No service charge was added on any of our visits, but there's a tip jar by the till.

Child-friendliness: They have at least three IKEA Antilop highchairs with at least one tray, and there have been babies and/or children present on almost all our visits. No obvious nappy-changing facilities, though; there certainly isn't room in the toilet.

Accessibility: No steps to get in or to the toilet, but the toilet cubicle is extremely small (to the point where larger people or those with longer legs might have trouble fitting in).

See also:

Last visited by Kake, February 2020. Opening hours taken from the Communitea website, February 2020.
OS X co-ord: 533954 OS Y co-ord: 168372 (Latitude: 51.399095 Longitude: -0.077399)
Last edited 2020-06-29 16:48:50 (version 10; diff). List all versions.