Harry Ten Shilling boasts a history as rich as its homemade desserts. The building's original identity was the Union Hotel, which served as a stopover for early pioneers. Later it would become a bootlegging operation, then an antique store, and then an art gallery. Finally, in 1977, the storied location transformed into Harry Ten Shilling Tea Room—a name that pays homage to William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II. During the play, characters reference a 10-shilling coin marked with the face of Henry III, who was also known as Harry.
Harry Ten Shilling's traditional teatime experience bridges the gap between past and present. The café complements cups of chai and naturally flavored black tea with homemade finger sandwiches, jams, and signature scones. Cooks arrange the delicacies on fine china and supply all the proper tea fixings—milk, sugar, and splints for keeping pinkie fingers angled at precisely 45 degrees.
Equipped with local fruits and ingredients, the flavour experts at Cafe Sentral craft inventive bubble teas, crepes, and waffles that sate cravings while remaining focused on health. Scents of sweet and savoury flavours waft out of the casual eatery's open kitchen, where comestible constructors assemble meals fresh with every order and cap every bubble tea in flavoured whipped cream. Cafe Sentral also aims to create a study-friendly atmosphere, equipping students with comfy seats and free WiFi as they type papers and suck up more fresh fruits than a cyclone in an orchard grove.
One of London’s only local, independent, and sustainable cafés, East Village Coffeehouse is an indie oasis serving up fair-trade brews from international locales and retail coffee from local roasters Hasbeans, Las Chicas del Cafe, and Fire Roasted Coffee. To complement the succulent sippables, East Village boasts a largely organic menu including a variety of eclectic, internationally inspired dishes, many of which are gluten-free, low sugar, and/or vegetarian. This eco-friendly beacon of beanery is dedicated to minimizing waste by recycling and using reusable materials. Guests can enjoy free wireless while soaking in the funky, colourful décor made musical with streamed lounge music, rather than rivered rock ‘n’ roll. As one of two Artefex galleries, East Village displays myriad works of graphic art given a painted makeover on oil canvases. On December 12, East Village Coffeehouse will be participating in Share the Love: the East Village Arts Crawl, featuring the work of more than 30 London-based artists.
With 40,000 or so people of Arabic descent in London, Joe Alomeiri—a native of Jordan—knew a Middle Eastern restaurant would be well received by the city. He also had a feeling that non-Arabs might be curious to explore some traditions of his culture, including shisha. So, in 2008, he opened Crazy Joe's Shisha Cafe, naming it with the moniker he earned from his years working multiple jobs at once, often with very little sleep.
Joe allows himself to spend more time counting sheep, now that his sole focus is on his authentic shisha cafe. Free from tobacco, tar, and nicotine, herbal shisha—smoked from a water pipe, also known as a hookah—comes bathed in fragrant flavours, from fruity apple, guava, and peach to more indulgent tastes, such as chocolate and whiskey. Guests at Crazy Joe's can sink into a cushy sofa as they puff shisha and sip hot tea, or slide into a table and enjoy Middle Eastern favourites, such as chicken shawarma and falafel. On Saturday night, every seat in the house gets a full view of live belly dancers, who twist and shimmy amid the cafe’s vibrant, curry-coloured walls and blonde hardwood floors.