Tucked away in Hackney Wick is Counter Café and coffee roastery, one of my favourite places for Sunday brunch, an open-plan airy space, with a relaxed atmosphere that makes for a perfect hangover cure.
If you are unfamiliar with the area you might think you have stepped off the train at the wrong station as you exit into an industrial area filled with warehouses and street art; but that is all part its charm.
If this kind of urban open air art gallery isn’t your style then polar opposite, glossy Westfield is only a few minutes walk away.
However if you are like me and love not quite knowing what is around the next corner then continue weaving through the industrial estate admiring the vibrant art until you stumble across the Stour Space Art Gallery where the Café is located.
The selection of ever changing art is only one of the positives of the Café’s location, it also sits on the banks of Regents Canal, in the shadow of what was the Olympic park.
Since the Olympics I have watched many changes take place in this area, however, The Counter has remained the same chilled out eatery with great quality food, an awesome selection of coffee from their in house roastery and craft beers from Crate Brewery.
Inside the cafe you are likely to be greeted by assorted furniture, bikes, the occasional cat or dog and the equally quirky staff. The atmosphere always makes me feel as if I have just popped into a friend’s house and is exactly the vibe I need on a Sunday morning.
The hand written menu fits in perfectly with the uncontentious surroundings; the café serves an amazing brunch menu, sandwiches, salads, burgers, home made pies and cakes .
The food may not seem like anything out of the ordinary but the fact that they only use natural and organic products that are locally sourced can definitely be tasted in these classic brunch dishes.
I have tried a combination of all of the veggie options but still think that my two solid favourites are the Eggs Benedict on a muffin (without the ham) or the French Toast with berries and fried banana. Chased with either a soya latte or an IPA depending on how sensitive I am feeling.
On this particular Sunday I had a bit of both.
Once I ordered from the lovely staff members, the next big decision is where to sit, upstairs tends to be a little quieter and is a great place to watch the world go by, down by the counter is a little more hectic but you get to see all the comings and goings, or my personal favourite outside on the floating deck.
One of the reasons this is one of my top spots in London is that it is an amazing place for people spotting with a wide variety of clientele ranging from freelancers working, families, artists that live in a nearby warehouse and, like me and my friends, hungover twenty something’s trying to make a recovery from the weekend’s events.
A warning: if you are starving, have a snack on the way as the food always takes a while to arrive, the orders are not rushed out of the kitchen and are all freshly prepared.
Counter Café has a truly welcoming community feel – I would advise not to rush your visit, sit back, relax and enjoy this unique eatery before letting the normal speed and chaos of London seep its way back into your life.
7 Roach Road