Albert & Francis: what do you think?

It’s one newer opening in the area that’s not gone down quite as well as many others. We wonder why

Albert
Could it be a bit, well, better? Albert & Francis. Photo: SE/LBTM
I want to like Albert & Francis, I really do, and all the ingredients that should make it my kind of place are there.

It’s in a cute corner spot on Francis Road, and painted all Farrow & Ball kind of shades. It has a book swap library, which is also great: far too many novels sit on bookshelves after they’ve been read just once, so it’s far better that they’re out in the world being read multiple times.

Plus: it serves coffee and pastries, as well as salads and sandwiches at lunchtime; these are all things I love. But something’s not quite right. At over £2 for a cup of coffee I’d expect something, well, really good. For the same price I can get a far superior offer at La Petite Robe Rose or Filly Brook, and for nearly £1 less I can get a decent cup at Café Du Metro.

The one time I had lunch there I went for a tuna salad which, to be fair, wasn’t a bad price for what I ate. It’s just that what was there was like a #throwbackthursday salad, when actually I don’t think they were trying to be retro. It’s just that they haven’t noticed that people like something a bit different than iceberg, cucumber, tomatoes and couple of olives with their protein these days.

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A reader view

Inside A& F. Photo: Twitter
‘The decor is OK’: inside A & F. Photo: Twitter
I live a minute’s walk away, and my partner and I supported Albert & Francis from the start, but the quality of products is poor, and the staff aren’t very engaging, so we stopped going. The shop looks appealing on the outside, but as soon as you get inside, it all goes wrong. The decor is OK, but the staff are super slow, the cakes are served on the plastic stands they were obviously delivered in (so clearly not homemade), the food is beyond basic and they just generally don’t seem to have a voice or clear direction.

With a few tweaks they could be doing a lot better and attract a lot of local business. I know we’re not the only ones that think this, too. It’s just so frustrating that with new residents coming in from Hackney and Dalston, they could be on to something, but it falls short. I must say though, that we haven’t been for months, so in all fairness, it could have changed. A simple fresh salad bar and some cheery staff would do wonders.

And it seems you pretty much agreed when we asked the question on Twitter…

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But has anyone got anything positive to say? Or any further tips or suggestions for Albert & Francis? Share below. Find the cafe at 153 Francis Road, E10.
  • Show Comments

  • Wizzo Denholm

    Very much liking the honesty. While we are very keen for new starts ups and badly want to support them, we have high standards in East London .

  • Nancy McCarthy

    Yes, completely agree. I want it to be so much better than it is.

  • Kerry Jean Lister

    Average food served with a sour face. I won’t be back.

  • Steven Porter

    I really like it. I find the staff friendly, service quick & my Ham and Cheese Panini was really tasty. My only comment is that with smaller table and chairs they could have a few more seats inside which would appeal in the winter months.

  • Clare Nye

    Maybe a Marmadukes should come to Leytonstone?? Casey Powell keep me posted

  • Casey Powell

    Oh god, pleeeeaaase! Hackney at coffee shop saturation point, this is the place to be…well, it will be! X

  • paulieev

    I’ve been a few times for a coffee now. The service is surly and unwelcoming with never once even a hint of a smile, a hello, a thank you or any effort made. The coffee’s okay but the cakes and pastries are mass produced and the sandwich choices remind me of my student days. It’s a real shame because someone’s clearly tried to make an effort then just given up. Reading reviews here and speaking to neighbours,  this is everyone else’s experience too.

  • lakhvinder

    I’ve been wanting to visit Albert and francis for a while as it looks so appealing. Today I went for a quick coffee and a sandwich. I ordered a cappuccino and a cheese and tomato toastie . The service was appalling , cold rude personalities . The cappuccino was weak and tasteless . The sandwich was compiled so badly with the cheese oozing out. Ingredients were basic and not grear tasting.
    I agree , until the barista improves and the staff smile albert and francis may not survive.