East London is a stomping ground for coffee enthusiasts, and we've rounded up our favourite cafés. Be tempted by a light brunch at Leila's Shop, a connoisseur's brew at Prufrock Coffee or something more hearty at Albion at The Boundary Project. Try Time Out's guide to the best cafés in Shoreditch to satisfy those early morning cravings.
East London: stomping ground of the coffee connoisseurs. No-one should pass through Shoreditch without a pilgrimage to Prufrock. What’s the big fuss? Mainly that the shiny Victoria Arduino espresso machine has been operated by top coffee names, from the 2009 Swedish Barista Champion Mattias Björklund to the UK’s first World Barista Champion, Gwylim Davies.
We have yet to visit Allpress when it hasn’t been crowded. This winning corner spot – tables and counter at one end of a light-filled room, the coffee roaster at the other – is a solid fixture in Shoreditch’s increasingly well-populated catering scene.
Leila McAlister’s eclectic store has the nous to distinguish between crusty and gooey brownies and offer customers the choice. There are fresh, seasonal fruit and veg, breads and cheeses, French sunflower oil (sold from large plastic bottles), and bags of marcona almonds.
Albion describes itself somewhat self-consciously as a ‘caff’, but no greasy spoon in London was ever designed and owned by Terence Conran, and certainly none has its own maître d’. But in spirit, at least, it is something approaching a café for 21st-century Shoreditch – a place where locals can drop in for a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Shoreditch Grind has acquired a good reputation since its founding in 2011, and there’s much to admire. The high-ceilinged space has a striking view of Silicon Roundabout. And food and drink are mostly up to scratch.
Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) carved out a solid, celebrity-packed fan base well before opening her own bakery. Her foray into sculptural, macabre cake creations (roadkill cake, gingerbread gravestones, marzipan beetles) gave sweet treats a contemporary, anti-cute makeover and set her far apart from the mainstream cupcake clan.
This original branch of Nude just never stops being busy, even at times of the day that should be quiet. The enduring popularity has a pretty simple explanation: quality and (relative) consistency. That, plus a sizeable local catchment area encompassing business as well as residential custom.
Hey, kids! With the aura of a chipper kids’ TV presenter, the Breakfast Club invites punters to wallow in an ersatz homage to an 1980s youth, with Roland Rat posters and the soundtrack of a ‘90s adolescence.