Community / Food & Drink

Breaking The Chain

Words: Elliot Lewis-George
Published: Spring ‘16

Many of london’s high streets can appear predictable - at one end of the scale they are littered with countless cafés and coffee shop chains, at the other, chicken shops reign. We chat to three local spots that are doing things a little bit differently, and standing out from the crowd as a result.

#Tottenhamsocial at Craving Coffee, Tottenham

Craving Coffee, Unit 3, Gaunson House, Markfield Road, N15 4QQ

Coffee shops are ten-a-penny in the capital and it takes more than a long black to stand out from the crowd. Husband-and-wife-duo Rachel and Matt Ho decided that they wanted to serve more than marvellous macchiatos when they opened the Craving Coffee shop 18 months ago. The pair have created a foodie destination by supporting upcoming street food vendors with month-long residencies that pull in Londoners every Thursday to Saturday night.

“We moved to the area six years ago and there wasn’t much going on,” explains Rachel. “But we soon learnt that Tottenham’s residents are a passionate bunch and keen to support local businesses that are doing something a little bit different.”

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Canvas Cafe, Shoreditch

Canvas Cafe, 42 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5JL

If you’re feeling nostalgic for the days of desktop doodling, we know just the place. Hanbury Street is been home to London’s first ‘Happy Cafe’, a space uniquely shaped by its visitors, who are encouraged to use its walls as a blank canvas on which to scrawl their thoughts. The aptly named Canvas Cafe runs events, classes, workshops and even a drop-in choir, all designed to improve wellbeing, self-expression and positive thinking.

Owner and creative director Ruth Rogers explains, “The Canvas Cafe is a social enterprise that is trying to make London feel a bit smaller…people don’t expect to find somewhere so friendly in London.” She hopes that “everyone will leave feeling better about themselves.”

The writing on the wall asks ‘What’s your happy place?’ We say here.

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Chicken Town, Seven Sisters

Chicken Town, The Old Fire Station, Town Hall Approach Rd, London, N15 4RX

Fried chicken is the guilty pleasure of most Londoners, especially as a post-pub treat. However, you no longer have to flap your feathers with guilt thanks to the chaps behind Chicken Town, a chicken shop serving up happy herb-fed chickens cooked in rapeseed oil for a clucking healthy treat.

That’s not all though – Chicken Town is a non-profit business that uses the profit from your dinner to offer under-18s a delicious daytime meal from just £2. The intention of co-owner Ben Rymer is to introduce younger generations to healthier versions of foods that they’re already familiar with, like sweet potatoes and coleslaw, alongside chicken – with no palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil in sight!

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