Counter Café

Restaurants, British Hackney Wick
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(45user reviews)
Rob Greig Counter Cafe

Come to this Hackney Wick canalside venue for brunches, salads and pies – plus views of the Olympic stadium.

Please note: Counter Cafe is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, December 2016.

A javelin’s throw from the Olympic Stadium across the canal, this delightfully thrown-together-looking joint behind artists’ studios seems a world away. Arrive for a late lunch and the lack of pies and salads could be excused by the admission that it’s more of a breakfast and brunch spot. (It doesn’t explain the fact that the Anzac biscuit – there’s some Antipodean connection here – and brownie were disappointing.) However, the last remaining pie, an excellent herby lamb number neatly encased in golden flaky pastry with well-dressed rustled-up colourful salad leaves, suggests it’s worth arriving earlier.

An all-day dish of perfectly poached eggs with reassuringly dark golden yolks, topped by smoked salmon, on slightly underpowered potato cakes, made up for lack of more lunch-specific choices. Own-made tomato relish left on the table in kilner jars went well with everything. The flat white is terrific. There’s good music in the ground floor room right on the canal, and peace and quiet and a view of trees and the stadium from squidgy sofas and large tables upstairs. A great place for those in the area or a useful pitstop when exploring a fascinating, evolving area.



Venue name: Counter Café
Address: Stour Space
7 Roach Rd
E3 2PA
Opening hours: Open 8am-5pm Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Hackney Wick Overground/bus 488
Price: Main courses £4-£9
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:21
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:12
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Love this place. Had brunch with my girlfriends there, all had different meals and all delicious. I had potato cakes with poached eggs, which was gluten free! Coffee was good and service friendly but slightly slow as all hipsters working there! Would def go back and recommend. 

1 of 1 found helpful

I used to visit this cafe about a year ago, and just recently revisited. The quality of service and of the coffee and breakfast has improved tenfold. Absolutely excellent and highly recommended.

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I love this place, I come here quite often for breakfast. It's a nice atmosphere and the food is amazing. I really don't get where all the bad reviews are coming from. Turkish eggs <3

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Woaw what a great place! I used to come when they lived next door in the small cafe, but haven't had a chance to visit since they moved..totes regretting that now! Stunning view on the canal and the coffee was the best I have ever tasted! Food was excellent too. Defs coming back

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I had my doubts about coming here due to all the bad reviews but visited today and it was all very good - Really good breakfast food, nice coffee, service was very fast and the people working were very pleasant. From my experience today I'd definitely recommend it.


This is a pleasant little café backing off Stour Place and on to the canal with views out towards the Olympic Park and stadium. During the summer months, you can sit outside on a floating platform resting on the canal. The food is nice but it can get busy to the point that it is difficult to find a seat and you may have to wait in line for some time to place your order. However, it is a nice spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch if you can get in here.


One of my favourite brunch spots in London. It's a bit of a mission to get to but is a nice walk along the canal to enjoy a cheap honest breakfast canalside in this quirky cafe.

They do a great breakfast here There is a space outside where you are sitting beside the canal, it's a great setting. The cafe also is through a art gallery so you can take in some culture as you walk towards the entrance. Nice.


Come here for a dose of artsy surroundings, chilled vibes and good food.
It is a home of art gallery and Stour space studios, so it attracts interesting clientele. Located next to the river, offers cute views and it’s perfect for sunny days and such a great place for brunch,
Order  Turkish eggs for something different or even Full English, it’s tasty and it consists of real polish sausages. Yum!

Bonus points: Very Instagram-able food :)


Last time I went to the Counter Café there were many new construction sites, so I don’t how long its location Café will be the quiet, hidden jewel it (still) is. Still, after going through a small gallery (and hall for some artist studios and art shop), the café faces the river, with waterfront seating in a deck for sunny days or in front of enormous windows for rainy/cold days. The food is (not consistently, but frequently) really good. I always go for the Veggie Breakfast in most places I go, and I have no complains about theirs. My friend who’s a fan of Eggs Benedict and ate them for a whole week in different places of East London has said that’s the best he got. Coffees and sweets have also been great. But as some reviewers pointed out they’re usually quite slow – don’t go there if in a hurry. The service can sometimes be friendly but it usually has a ‘hipster blasé-ness’ vibe; but knowing that beforehand, I don’t really have a problem with that. In a sunny day in the deck, I really don’t mind the (maybe) indifferent service or long wait for (good) food and coffee. Actually, it makes you stay longer enjoying it!

Firstly I want to say that Time Out need to revisit this place, because it is better then a 3* for sure! 

There is a great atmosphere and the service comes with a smile. I have had breakfast/brunch here a few times and each time the food was great, such great flavouring- they do a great coffee too. I have had the Turkish breakfast, the veggie breakfast and egg royal. I've not been in the evening but hear the vibe is really good. There is a small gallery just beside the cafe, sometimes the art is really good, other times its, well let's just say, not my style. 


With the entrance hidden along the back of the canal in amongst the collection of industrial units that make up Fish Island, you'd be forgiven for completely missing this little gem in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium. Attached to the art gallery and studios 'Stour Space', 'Counter Cafe' is a lovely jumble of tables and chairs extending out onto a floating pontoon on the River Lee Navigation. Head there on a weekend morning and you'll be surrounded by trendy young mums and more beards than you can shake a stick at (mine included...) Their breakfasts are hearty but not stodgy and the coffee is not an afterthought. The last time I paid them a visit, I devoured their 'Turkish Eggs' (read Shakshuka), barely pausing for breath. It can become a bit of a tight squeeze on a busy morning, but staff are helpful and efficient, creating a lovely atmosphere. Worth hunting out. 

Staff Writer

I often went to the Counter Cafe when I lived in Hackney Wick. The food was always great - one of the best eggs Benedict in town. Mostly because I'm not a fan of hollandaise and it comes with a spicy, sweet tomato chutney! 

Whilst the service is a little slow, the food is great and it's nice to sit by the canal - particularly for breakfast.


This place is super cute and you can't beat the view - construction or not! The service is a little slow but when I went, the barista was having a chat with my friend while he ordered so I can't fault him for that - and it wasn't busy either. The upstairs has a bunch of couches to relax on and stare out at the canal and the Olympic park beyond. Do yourself a favour and get a coffee and a brownie. Delish!

Staff Writer

One of those places you'd only find in London - a wonky canalside cafe where you can eat your eggs practically in the water. But thankfully, considering the state of the water, not quite. It's typical Aussie fare - stuff with avocado, great coffee, freshly squeezed juice. But it's always good, and on a sunny day you can't beat the view. 

Last year I went here quite often at weekends because the food was delicious and I could sit, read the paper and watch the world go by. Last weekend I went back and the food was terrible for me and my friends. I ordered the full breakfast and the Sour Dough toast was now standard supermarket sliced bread, the wonderful eggs with their orange yolks were again standard, I didn't even receive the white beans in tomato sauce. My friend ordered the vegy version and for £10 received, two slices of toast, two eggs, two tiny mushrooms, and a few chickpeas thrown over the plate. She complained and was told the menu had changed and now thats what you get. Looks like another restaurant that has become complacent and the standards have fallen. 

Went here last weekend with my boyfriend. We had been meaning to go for ages but were slightly scared of the "on and off" reviews. But OMG it was sooo amazing! We only waited for 10min max before our food came and it was sooo delicious! I had the vege breakfast and it is hands down one of the best I've ever had. Boyfriend opted for the Eggs Benedict and that hollandaise was ... wow! YUM!

We will definitely be back for more!

Beautiful location by the canal and the breakfast and on-site roasted coffee is great. Very arty and chill vibe. Thanks Counter Cafe!

Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. Which is a shame, because this place has such HUGE potential. The service is as lousy as it gets, I'm afraid. Why, in the three years that I have been living nearby, this place has not improved I will never know. Run by hipsters, who seem to have little training. Expect to wait at least 50 mins for a coffee on a weekend, for food - how long have you got? What irks me the most, is that although I come in here often for a morning coffee ( there is little other choice in HWick) they NEVER remember me. NEVER recognise me and say 'Oh, hi', or 'Morning!' Really, this place is most unfriendly. Many of us locals feel the same. I feel bad, giving a bad review as I REALLY want this place to be awesome, I really do. I've just finally lost my patience. Sorry Counter Cafe!!! 2015 - MUST IMPROVE.

This place has improved so much in the last year or so! Delicious food, lovely staff and location. 

After three visits, I completely gave up. Cosy location, but horrible service. My last visit, I was there on a quiet weekday again and still had to wait at least 30 minutes for a simple coffee,despite reminding the lovely staff.  We had a breakfast, it was simply horrible. (the bacon and sausages were inedible).

Visited today, the veggie breakfast was yummy, especially the mushrooms. However the service is awful which kind of ruins the experience. The staff are not organised and too laid back, this just comes across as rude and uncaring. Our breakfast took a long time to come despite the place being quiet. I ordered a take away coffee at the end of the meal but asked for my money back after waiting 15 mins. I expected the experience to be better.

We gave The Counter Cafe the benefit of the doubt after reading the reviews and went for breakfast. To all those considering doing the same, don't. All the reviews about the staff and the incompetent service are wholly accurate. It's a shame, because the place is quite nice and the breakfast not half bad, when and if you finally get it. We had to chase ours twice and only after the second time of asking (and an hour later) were we told that "we have a problem" (which translated to mean they had no idea what we had ordered). You could forgive them if it wasn't so blatantly obvious that the staff don't give a sh*t and are more concerned with their music choice than serving their customers or clearing tables. I would happily come here for breakfast each and every weekend if they would just act on the feedback given on these pages. Alternatively, just go the The Pavilion.

The coffee was quite good but certainly not worth waiting 25 mins for, especially as I had eaten the food purchased at the counter well before the coffee arrived. Poor service!

We went here to meet friends a couple of Sundays ago after reading glowing reports. i ordered a Bloody Mary and an an orange juice, It came to £12.50! I asked how much the Bloody Mary was and was told it was £10.00, £10 i repeated 'yes its an alcoholic drink' came the reply. Thanks for that in my 35 years i often wondered why i felt tipsy after indulging in said drink. I digress, curious to know how special this drink was i ordered it, too much worcester sauce no horseradish, no love, terrible. We left when are friends arrived so never tasted the food, but complaints were already abound in the half full cafe about how long people had been waiting for their orders. Also there is a fine line between a deliberately deconstructed interior and a shabby mess, i'll not be going back.

I agree with the last review..I was there on a quiet weekday morning and still had to wait 30 minutes for breakfast when the cafe was nearly empty. The staff seem more into choosing the next playlist than caring about service. Its a shame as the food is good, but there are other good alternatives popping up. Even the Crate, which again has great food and beer has terrible service and an hour waiting time for pizzas at the weekend..I would go alll the time to both if the service wasn't so bad

Went here for lunch on a Sunday, queued for twenty minutes just to place our order then had to wait one hour for food. Staff were friendly enough but useless, seating and atmosphere was good, food varied from average to good but the interminable wait pretty much spoiled the experience. Definitely would not go here again. Unless I wasn't hungry.

Stunning coffee and food, with nice views of the river and decent beats to accompany eating. Friendly.

I have visited the Counter many times and have never been let down. I admit I am a coffee snob and am regularly disappointed with the watery muck usually served up in London cafes, however at the Counter I know it will be perfect every time. The food is also delicious and they will happily change aspects of the dishes to meet my craving of the day. The atmosphere is laid back and friendly, and being right on the canal with views across to the Olympic stadium it is the perfect place to sit and enjoy proper coffee and well cooked eggs.

A place like the Counter is hard to find,especially in the murky east of London that isn't Shoreditch,Dalston or Bethnal Green. But there beside a canal and some giant stadium for some summer sporting event,is The Counter and Stour space. Cool through and through,not that awful "trying" to be cool, and most importantly, amazing at what they do - serving delcicious freah food that is tasty and not too damaging to the fairly threadbare pursestrings. You might miss the Olympics this summer,but there's no reason to miss out on The Counter - you'll be able to hear the action from the comfort of an old cinema seat while enjoying a selection of tapas followed by a browse at the latest local talent in the neighbouring gallery space.

What an amazing hidden gem! Incredible views of the Olympic main stadium, well priced delicious food and a great vibe. I will definitely be back!

Best breakfast I've had in ages! Gorgeous location overlooking the canal and really nice gallery vibes. Ignore everything "Laura" says she is bitter that she isn't an East London Hipster. The beans are gorgeous, staff are lovely and tomato relish a dream!

After a few visits I now give up, what a terrible place. The staff are either hungover, generally clueless or unenthusiastic in general, I am not sure which. The ordering and payment system is interminably slow, the wait for drinks equally so. The posh baked beans are a mystery, the tomato relish dreadful and the toilets equally so. I think this is another example of hipster territory where it's more important to be there with your Macbook Air than it is to actually have good food. It's a pretentious rip off.

I really miss coming to the counter. I used to work in Hackney Wick and it was such a great place to go to for lunch. The prices are reasonable and the bacon and avocado baguettes are DIVINE. Really nice staff, always friendly and smiley.

Nice location. Decent coffee. Probably the most incompetent, couldn't-be-arsed service in Britain.

a takeaway latte was £2.50 and it was crap. they weren't even serving anyone else at that point. was hoping to go for breakfast at some point but also saw that seats and table had crumbs everywhere and is not very clean. there is absolutely no reason to go to that area either, wouldn't waste time going there.

Wen't to this hidden gem for an amazing night of small plates and tapas. The wine list is small but precise and the staff seem to love what they are doing.

The coffee was nice, loved the decor, but .... Friday night's debris including wine bottles still littering the balcony Saturday lunchtime. No soap in the toilets for 2 consecutive days. Didn't fancy eating in such a grubby environment, Cleaning up seems to be off the menu at Counter Cafe.

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Starving for 90min now.Cannot believe that a hot chocolate took more than 45min and scrambled egg 90min despite questioning if we were forgotten.If you want food - don't come here!!!

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Fully agreed, if you do not have a problem waiting for more than 1h the place is quite nice. Otherwise avoid!!

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COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. How is it possible for it to take 55 minutes to serve a piece of salmon and an egg on some bread? And why is there no table service for a breakfast that costs £30 for two? It is like going to a restaurant run by junior Apprentice rejects that have never even been to a restaurant or cafe or experienced anything resembling a catering system. They managed to make me feel cross and maggoty on Sunday which is never a good thing and takes some doing. By the time the food had finally arrived we'd had to order two extra coffee's and felt nauseous from hunger, exasperation and caffeine. Not recommended for anyone who is hungry and wants to eat anything. EVER.

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