Now, we know that london is full of incredible places to have coffee, eat from early to late, hold parties and just hang out and watch the world go by.
When it comes to lunch or brunch, again, there are 100’s of places and I’ve tried many. The question is, what makes a place good versus a favourite, versus one to recommend.
I’m late to this party, but today i want to show you a rather special place that i stumbled across. J+A café has been running for 4 years. Hidden away in a courtyard between clerkenwell road and great sutton street, you’ll find them on the ground floor of a beautiful old diamond-cutting factory. Owned by 2 irish sisters, johanna and aoife ledwidgethe, the café was inspired by traditional family values and good old-fashioned hospitality. It oozes friendliness (the staff are truly incredible) and i have rarely come across a place in london so unpretentious and more like being around a big kitchen table at home.
Their latest addition is a bar on the opposite side of the café, still in the courtyard which can be used for dinner between wednesday and saturday but can also be hired out for private parties 7 days a week. This is really the clincher for me. A private courtyard with a 2 floor building on one side and a one floor building on the other side, all to be used for your event if you so wish. Top this with outside seating and it’s a little heaven of private space in the middle of london. No wonder they are booked up until christmas. Genius!
Let me show you the café. This was on a sunday for brunch.
There is always fresh-baked soda bread, which toasted was delicious. They use organic meats and you can tell they care about sourcing good produce.
For the evening, when the café shuts, all eyes are on the bar and on many nights you’ll find it hired out for private parties.
What’s so great is that they have a variety of furniture to play with and therefore can layout and create the mood requested by the party host. I loved these painted wooden table tops.
Nice green chairs.
Well, best thing really, go and check it out for yourselves. I’d like to thank gian paulo, the bar manager, for making me feel so welcome and allowing me to take all these photos, while quite busy himself. I was really taken aback by the friendliness, laid back atmosphere and and incredible customer service and look forward to visiting many more times.
Do you know of other such secluded hidden treasures in london or elsewhere in urban cities? What defines a great place for you? Is it food, ambience, customer service?
Have a great weekend. I shall see you back here on monday.