08 June 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Canada Water Cafe

Canada Water is only a mile or so down the road from my Bermondsey home but beyond visits to Hawker House, the multiplex cinema and the Decathlon store, I only tend to go there when I'm running east along the Thames Path. But I'd heard good things about Canada Water Cafe, a neighbourhood eatery serving Union coffee and an Italian-influenced all-day menu, and stopped by for some coffee and cake on Saturday.

The geography of Canada Water and Surrey Quays can be a little confusing, but the cafe is located on Surrey Quays Road, a couple of minutes north-east of Canada Water Tube station and the Canada Water library with its unique architectural design. You can spot it easily from the colourful awning and the cheery tables and chairs set out on the terrace out front. I had already eaten lunch and I figured that on such a sunny day, it would be pretty busy at lunchtime, so I wandered over to Decathlon to pick up a few bits of kit before arriving at Canada Water Cafe just after 2:00 pm.

It was still busy — the outdoor tables were, unsurprisingly, popular with the brunch crowd so I took a seat indoors. The decor is quirky with old-fashioned wooden tables and marble floors contrasting with more modern tables and huge, colourful pendant lamps. Colourful posies of flowers adorned each table, which is always a nice touch. It was just a shame that I couldn't keep all the ketchup bottles out of my photos!

The food menus were extensive and tempting, making me wish I hadn't already eaten. The 'breakfast' section, served all day on weekends and bank holidays, included a variety of egg- and/or toast-based dishes. The Italian influences came out more strongly in the 'brunch' menu (served from noon), which offered various pastas, salads and bruschette. There are also several cocktails, wines, beers and soft drinks in case you aren't in the mood for coffee.

But I was, of course. The coffee comes from Union and as well as the usual gamut of espresso-based drinks, there were a couple of single-origin coffees available as a V60- or Aeropress-brewed filter coffee. I decided to go for the Balcones Especial coffee from Peru, brewed through the V60 (£3). I thought the jammy, fruity notes would go nicely with a slice of lemon and polenta cake but they were all out, so I went for the chocolate and almond cake (£3.50) instead; such hardships, I know...

My coffee was brewed very nicely and the subtle raspberry and apple notes came through well. I'm not sure the chocolate cake was the best partner for this coffee, but it was delicious: moist, rich and with plenty of almond slivers.

The staff were very friendly, despite being extremely busy, and there was a lively but relaxed ambiance. Naturally, I'll be going back both to try a piccolo and to sample the cocktails and pizza menu (yes, Canada Water Cafe has a lot going on!), which is available during the week and on weekend evenings. It's a very fine neighbourhood spot that I should have discovered sooner.

Canada Water Cafe. 40 Surrey Quays Road, London, SE16 7DX (Tube: Canada Water). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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