This week’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ doesn’t refer to one visit in particular – it’s a local favourite of mine that I’ve been to many times. I’m selfishly also slightly reluctant to write about it, as it’s one of my favourite hidden gems. I remember when Time Out wrote about it last summer, and suddenly every weekend it was absolutely packed. But hey, I’ll be nice and share it with you all!
The place I’m talking about is Counter Cafe in Hackney Wick. I went through a phase a year or so ago when I went on a mission to try out a new breakfast/brunch place in our area each weekend. Despite living in Bow for over 6 years, we hadn’t been to many places locally. Largely due to the fact that when we first moved in, there really wasn’t much nearby. But when the London Olympics took over Stratford, and Hackney started getting ‘cool’, lots more places opened up. One of these is Counter Cafe.
It’s about a 10 minute walk from our flat and you would never know it’s there or be able to find it unless you knew about it. Hackney Wick is very industrial, although lots of businesses are now starting to open up in the area, with many warehouses and factories also being turned into apartments. It’s one of my favourite local walks due to the incredible street art around the area, which is always changing.
Counter Cafe is right on the canal, directly opposite the Olympic Park, located inside one of the warehouse style buildings. We have been there and sat outside at all times of year, as these photos show.
When we first visited, it was fairly rustic, but they’ve recently jazzed up the decking out on the water with palm trees – their website describes it as a ‘tropical pontoon!’
Every time I’ve been to Counter Cafe, I’ve had the Counter Big Breakfast – Sausage, Bacon, Homemade Baked Butter Beans, Potato Cakes, Toast and Eggs (poached, fried or scrambled). It’s SO good. Sure, it’s calorific as hell, but it doesn’t feel as ‘greasy’ or fatty as your typical English brekkie – the meat is lean and the ingredients feel very fresh. The baked butter beans are delicious and make a nice change from a standard dollop of Heinz.
I’ve often been tempted by other breakfast dishes on their menu, such as their Turkish Eggs with toast & garlic yoghurt, or their French Toast with fried banana, berries and toasted almonds, but I know that I’ll just end up with food envy over the Big Breakfast.
The coffee is also fabulous at Counter Cafe – they have their own on-site San Franciscan roaster. As well as serving coffee in the cafe, they sell retail bags to customers and also supply many local cafes. I could do a whole other blog post on their coffee alone. And then there are the cakes. Oh the cakes…
If you want to pay this awesome place a visit, they’re at 7 Roach Road in Hackney Wick – you can find out more info on their website.