N.B. The Hornbeam is now running as a partnership with local food business Norman Loves. The café continues to serve vegetarian and vegan food with much of the veg locally grown by Waltham Forest-based workers co-operative Organiclea. The review below was written before the re-launch.
The wall outside the Hornbeam is lined with part-used paint pots for the taking, and adverts for cheap scaffolding boards. Inside, the walls are covered in adverts for yoga and tai chi classes, and information on how to live sustainably. So, no question of where this café’s heart lies. The welcome is friendly, the atmosphere relaxed and the food mainly sourced from OrganicLea. Even the bread is own-made by the Hornbeam Bakers’ Collective.
The daily changing menu is short, comprising on our visit of a soup, a tabouleh dish and a salad – though toast and a host of cakes, including banana bread, were also available. The food isn’t especially adventurous, but it is fresh, wholesome and satisfying. There’s free wi-fi and bread for sale, as well as a variety of chutneys and jams, even some hand-carved wooden paraphernalia. Exciting? No, but we can’t help liking this place.