London Life Coffee Shops

cooper & wolf

February 14, 2013

So, here is what happens. Whenever i meet my friend mike for discussing projects, we choose a different coffee shop to go to. A couple of weeks ago he suggested to meet at cooper & wolf. I’d never heard of it before and so happily agreed!

It was a cold afternoon and i remember walking in and immediately feeling cocooned! There was an instant warmth about the place and it took me quite some time to take it all in. Torn between having my meeting with mike and snapping away with my camera to catch the fantastic light and misty windows, i decided to take as many photos i could that afternoon and come back to interview the owners the following week.

Meet the lovely sara and alex. Sara is swedish and alex is british. Married, and parents to a 2 years old son, they opened cooper and woolf in july 2012, serving home-cooked swedish food.

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Sara came to london in 1997 to only stay for six months. This is 16 years ago. After completing a BA in fashion and going on to do an MA at the royal college of art, sara landed jobs as a bag designer for vivienne westwood and asprey.  Eventually she set up a studio at home and offered her services as an accessory designer.

One of her favourite projects was when she was asked to design an exclusive mini-collection of accessories for vogue. This is actually something that sara would like to build on. These projects last 1 week and it would be the perfect balance between running a coffee shop/restaurant and making her craft.

Alex is an actor and so has lots of experience in working in coffee shops. Hence, sara looks after the food side of things whereby alex is more the coffee specialist. Done! Don’t you just love when people merge their talents, decide on a project and go and do it! There are always learning curves and hurdles to overcome, the best way is to just make it happen!

I completely fell in love with this simple yet incredibly effective window seating area? It flows so beautifully. Sara tells me that she just loves to shop an decorate and that when they decided on this project, even before they secured the premises, they were off to car boot sales, trawling ebay and mentally packing pieces from their own home.

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Ok, so i don’t have a sweet tooth and am not a cake lover (allright, don’t all kill me simultaneously). Mike insisted he wants to share a cake so i gave in and we ordered this lemon poppyseed cake. Boy was it delicious. When cake is that good, even i like it! Apparently it gets delivered by a local woman every wednesday and friday. I say, run and try it!

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Now there’s a surprise!

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What struck me immediately about this place is that it’s very child-friendly and….

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yes, hello there, furry friendly too!

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In some corners, there’s a real sense of being like in a living room. The little book swap shop, where you simply exchange your books and place 50p in a jar.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for glass bottles and jars. What a nice collection.

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This counter display cabinet is very old and came from an adjacent shop that closed down.

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These table numbers are just gorgeous. Sara and alex bought triangle door stoppers from ikea , glued 2 together and applied the leather handle. To finish off they stuck down numbers from a scouts calendar. Genius and very effective. Don’t you love the counter display cabinet, seen here sideways?

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Really like the different materials used here.

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The coffee is a big thing at cooper & wolf. They use caravan coffee and this chap is responsible for a perfect result!

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Small, but perfectly adequate little shop!

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Part of the kitchen.

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Here’s an overview of the dishes on offer.

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See the photo of grandma lisa? That’s when she was young.

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Here’s grandma lisa again. This picture was taken a few years ago. Today she’s 94 years old. Cooper & wolf serve up her secret recipe of meatballs. No, they are not ikea meatballs, they are the real deal!

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Before sara and alex opened, they had a cook off with their swedish head chef paul. They each prepared a variety of dishes, invited a bunch of people round and voted for the most popular dishes. This is how the menu came about. Initially they thought they would regularly change it but that proofed quite involved. There are, of course, the obligatory fishcakes.

What’s next? Well, sara tells me that they’re looking to open in the evenings for dinner as lots of customers have been asking for it. Sounds great to me.

This is certainly a place i’ll return to often. Simple, authentic, honest and swedish. Quite a perfect combo, would you agree?

Cooper and Wolf, Chatworth Road, Clapton, London E5 0LA

Happy weekend lovelies. See you monday. Hoping to introduce a new category. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned! Oh, and happy valentine’s day!

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39 Comments

  • Reply Judith February 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Seems like such a down-to-earth & relaxed place! And just as child friendly as most of the Swedish fika-places 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what new category you have in the works!

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Everything is chilled, owners, staff and customers:-)

      Yay! I’m excited about the new category. Hope you’ll like it!

  • Reply Michaela February 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    ooooh this place looks like something else!! I love Swedish food, lemon cake and the warm and cosy feel to the diner area. The photo where the windows are all steamed up where it’s cold outside, and the heat’s coming off of the lovely homely food! My kinda place 🙂 xx

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks lovely. Maybe we can meet there sometimes?

      I took a photo of a young woman who sat there for hours doing illustrations but decided not to include it! xx

  • Reply sue February 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    yum (sometimes one word truly is sufficient!)

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      So true… thanks Sue:-)

  • Reply Anya Jensen February 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    OH Tina. you take me to all the best places. I adore their personal touches and I also love how you manage to get the stories out of the people you speak to – a skill I’d like to acquire:)
    Happy V day lovely,
    Axx

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Oh Anya, you flatter me and now I’m blushing;-)

      I’m sure you have those skills and just need to apply them xx

  • Reply Chi @ 106 February 15, 2013 at 2:16 am

    What a charming find! And isn’t it interesting how one’s varied background can lead to the most wonderful and unexpected career? Such a compelling story.

    My curiosity is sufficiently piqued, you tease! Can’t wait to find out more about your new feature – I’m sure it’ll be fab. 😀 xo

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks Chi. Yes, thought of you as Sara was in fashion and accessories.. you never know, that’s the beauty about life!!

      Eek, yes, I can say with some confidence that you’ll enjoy the new feature:-) That’s how well I know you xx

  • Reply Doris February 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

    What a lovely cafe, just my style laid back, homely and eclectic. Great find Tina. Have a lovely weekend. xD

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks Doris. I love the whole story. It makes for a better experience! I loved going there. x

  • Reply WeHeartHome February 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Another working partnership story with a romantic twist! Always inspiring. First one was earlier this week from Mr. Grey – and both from people who don’t do Vday. What do you know! Whether you planned to or not, you spread some love messages this week 😉 … although, I know you always do that, Vday or not. Woot, woot!

    Fantastic images as always Tina. My fave:#6, I just want to jump right in!

    Xx.Holly.

    ps.I’m always surprised when I walk into a cafe in Berlin and the opposite is true – no children or pets in sight – especially in my district 😉

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Haha. You’re o funny. Picking on me and G the anti V days brigade:-) but you know darling, Vday should be every day. We need to spread love on a daily basis not just on the 14th Feb with over expensive roses and extortionate meal prices. Total rubbish!!

      Thanks, c’mon in… jump to your hearts content! x

      I’m surprised to hear that about Berlin but on second thought, you might be right. The places I go to don’t usually have sprogs or pets!

  • Reply Alison Sye February 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    There are lots of wonderful places to eat and drink in London, but the places you find really are extra special. I love it ALL, but the parts that made my heart warm the most were the book swap, the writng on the tiles, and the fact that Grandma Lisa joins them at work every day.

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Aww, thanks you Alison for such a lovely comment. I do like to curate places and am always charmed by lovely owners and their stories. I believe that cooking for others and eating is an energy thing so why not go to places where people care, love to serve and proudly select excellent produce! I call this a win-win situation.

      I agree, Having Grandma Lisa there makes it extra special!

  • Reply Igor February 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Looks like a great place, Tina! And the photography is brilliant!

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you Igor;-)

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey February 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Well Tina, your posts of late have really been challenging me and I do worry that I’m coming across as somewhat negative. When I started reading this post, I was excited by the prospect of a Swedish coffee shop. And then the images appeared – nothing to do with your photography which is wonderful as always.

    I do not understand the shabby (not even chic) craze. Such a hotchpotch of mis-matched objects and furnishings. And I’m sure it is clean, but it doesn’t look clean.

    I’m not the customer they’re looking for of course and I’d choose somewhere like Nordic Bakery any time. I also see they charge “London prices”.

    Sorry… I’ll stop now 😉 xx

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Well, I think a dose of challenge is imperative. Imagine if someone like you wouldn’t be challenged? Doesn’t bare thinking about:-)

      I like the ‘somewhat’ negative!!! I’m not sure negative is the right word. Maybe one-sided, inflexible and it’s either Gerard’s way (in terms of design aesthetics) or the highway!

      To say that you were excited about the prospect of a Swedish Coffee Shop and then bitterly disappointed when you saw the images is very limiting indeed. It evokes the notion that there’s only one way to design and run a swedish coffee shop or that all swedes are exactly the same and like the same design principles. It’s a bit like saying all English or Irish folks are exactly the same. A little silly, would you not agree?

      I’m somewhat surprised at your limiting skills or willingness of being open-minded and seeing something positive or encouraging in any given design situation. If I may point out to you, I like story telling and instead of maybe commenting on some of the story of the owners or food, you hamper on about the shabby decor and the ‘dirty looking’ place. That is actually offensive. It might not be to your taste (which I totally respect) but there’s no need to ‘rubbish’ other people’s taste or livelihood!
      Just because it’s not anally retentive and starck looking (like Nordic Bakery, which I don’t particularly like but respect what they’re doing) but actually has some personality, personal flare and individuality, lends me to believe that you might need to broaden your horizon a little and get out of just reading Wallpaper.

      I’m glad you stopped where you did!

      On a separate note, you know I love when you visit and share your opinion and I know you can take my feedback and foremost, you know I adore you xx

      • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey February 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        Well that is a pretty candid retort. I wouldn’t describe myself as inflexible and one-sided, however I am honest – have always been – about what I like and it’s pretty obvious from my website. I prize an aesthetic, urbane style; no denying that.

        I withdraw my “it doesn’t look clean” remark – that was unfair. But then so was the “anally retentive” comment don’t you think?

        I do know that you tell stories, particularly in photos and often that is what I comment on – sure, not the case with cooper & wolf – but the aesthetic and appearance is, for me, a part of the story.

        I find a ton of personality in Nordic Bakery, Wallpaper*, Monocle etc. They’re much more what I’m about. And I’m happy with this. Leaving London is also helping me lift my head out of the London bubble and see my world in a less London-centric sense. That I’m grappling with.

        But I do thank you for your feedback darlin’ and appreciate your candour 😉 Gxx

        • Reply tina February 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm

          Darling Gerard, I do LOVE a good dose of healthy confrontation…

          Thanks for responding. I, probably more than many others here, know of your ‘prize an aesthetic, urbane style’ and you know how much I respect that and support it. (Mostly because I support you and believe that ‘differences’ make the world go round.

          I thank you for withdrawing the “it doesn’t look clean” remark… and I will gladly withdraw the “anally retentive” comment! LOL

          My point, I know a little retort, was purely to illustrate that different aesthetics and tastes are fine and necessary, but can we please stay civilised and embrace these differences? Your comment was rather offensive (to the owners, not to me) and there was absolutely no need for it.

          You know I get you but maybe others don’t and I do believe that we can hold on to our beliefs and values without belittling others’. I’m sure you get what I mean.
          Let’s see whether on the next post that you might find ‘disappointing’ you can leave a somewhat more generous comment, albeit expressing your dislike. xx

      • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey February 19, 2013 at 12:19 am

        As opinionated as I am or as I can be, it is never my intention to belittle someone. I misfired with my original comment and apologise to both Sara & Alex.

        Gx

  • Reply Catherine Bedson February 16, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Tina, this place just exudes warmth to me..I love it! This place ‘is’ the owners..on a plate and in the decor. So inspiring. Your photos are STUNNING..I’d love a copy of the second photo. Would love to frame it..it speaks to me! I have a perfect spot in mind for it. Looks like someone is coming over to the ‘sweet side’!!! xxx

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Catherine. I feel the same way!

      Aww, I’m touched. I’ll send you a jpeg of the photo… not sure how large you can print, but probably A4.
      Haha, don’t get overexcited. That cake was out of this world. We had it with a little cream and some blueberries and raspberries. Divine. I really don’t have a sweet tooth so not missing out at all… xx

      • Reply Catherine Bedson February 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

        Thanks Tina, a jpeg of the print would be so lovely. xxx

  • Reply christine February 16, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Wow…What a cozy place. Reminds me of cafes in Seoul in winter. The photos are incredible.

    • Reply tina February 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Hey Christine. Hope all is well with you;-)

      Wow, are there places like these in Seoul? Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! x

  • Reply leah of sang the bird February 17, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for taking me here! It is wonderful! Child friendly, book-swapping livingroom-esque is PERFECT! Your images are so evocative xx

    • Reply tina February 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thanks sweetie. I wish I could LITERALLY take you and Miss S there, you know that don’t you?
      It’s a tad far away from Australia but I live in hope xx

  • Reply geraldine February 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Another quirky cool find. Thanks, the list is mounting 🙂 hope you are having a great weekend x

    • Reply tina February 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Hope you have a dedicated list;-) x

  • Reply Louise de Miranda February 17, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    This looks cozy! And the menu doesn’t look bad either

    • Reply tina February 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

      On one of your trips to London I might take you here….:-)

  • Reply Ingrid February 20, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Gorgeous. Love the shot with the misty windows. Isn’t it the best when you find a place you feel ‘cocooned’! x i

  • Reply James Balston February 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Great looking cafe, it reminds me of our very own Bambino, down here in Crystal Palace – a cafe in a vintage bric a brac shop that I blogged about recently. Will take you there when you are next down this way x

    • Reply tina February 23, 2013 at 12:57 am

      I think I remember seeing Bambino on your blog and commenting how charming it was.

      When the weather gets warmer I’ll jump on my Vespa and come and see you in Crystal Palace:-) x

  • Reply Louisa Blackmore February 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Wow Tina, another cool virtual tour – I love finding all these new places via your blog – it’s really fun especially as I no longer live in London. I am pleased to see it is also dog friendly, Alfie pug will be so pleased – he does love a meatball 🙂

    I really love their window arrangements, I wonder how they get those orchids to stay alive? Mine never last more than a month.

    Great photos too by the way you little superstar blogger you! X

    • Reply tina February 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Ha. Yes, if one would want to do a coffee shop tour in London, look no further:-)

      I know, I love the fact it’s dog and child friendly… really gives it that extra charm. I bet Sara would cut us a wonderful cucumber for Alfie.. oh, or he could have some swedish meatballs!!!

      Thanks for the compliment. xx

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