Tina’s puts you instantly at ease: the large communal table in the middle (sofas and a handful of pavement tables also available for early arrivers) – populated with help-yourself jars of Marmite and jam, and locals helping each other with the Guardian crossword – feel like your best friend’s kitchen table. Regulars work their way towards a lifetime discount by getting a star on the wall every time they buy a coffee; by the looks of things, Duncan, Andy M and Emma have a serious Tina habit. The café’s namesake is a glamorous ‘60s model who graces the wall, alongside an anything-goes mix of artwork and flyers for local events.
Owners Danny and Steve make all the cakes at home, just as they have done since they first started running a cupcake stall off Brick Lane. A comforting breakfast menu (poached eggs, pancakes with berries, porridge) eases itself into lunch (toasted sandwiches, bagels, ploughman’s). The beans with chorizo had sold out by the time we arrived, but fluffy American pancakes showed attention to detail with a buttery maple sauce, tart berries, and a dusting of icing sugar and oats. The ‘breakfast trifle’ is a triumph of granola, fruit and a dash of lemon curd. Tina’s also serves consistently good coffee; expand your tastes beyond the usual latte with a Gibraltar (between a mini latte and a large macchiato). Cash only.