East London Food & Culture

Charles Artisan Bakery

There are 5 – count ’em – new cafes in the Olympic Park

An eclectic round-up of new places for a weekend coffee or brunch stroll

The bit where you cross into the Olympic Park from Leyton and snake around the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre is a well-worn route for my trainers.

But I always wonder why – seemingly – Timber Lodge (currently home to the worthwhile Change, Please coffee project) is the first cafe you come to on the fringes of East Village.

So it was with a yelp of jubilation that I spotted a new arrival last week, Charles Artisan Bakery, right by the Velodrome. OK, it’s been there for a couple of months.

A cafe and micro-bakery with a decent amount of space if you’re a laptop-wielder, this is Charles’s second spot (main pic, above), with a flagship in Lower Clapton. And their 24-hour fermented seeded sourdough is a thing of chewy beauty (it was 25% off on my first visit as they weren’t happy with how the loaves had risen).


The interior is a very 2023 mish-mash of homely-slash-Scandi too, and there’s obviously a strong baked goods and filled croissants game. Plus great coffee, posh chocolate and more. Follow @charlesartisanbread, Chobham Manor E20

Bridget’s Cafe. Photo: SE

Also new in the neighbourhood they call Chobham Manor is Bridget’s, pictured above, another spacious cafe with coffee, sandwiches and cakes – but with a somewhat different mission. Named in memory of owner Michelle Tohill’s late mother, it’s the brainchild of community charity Aspire Support Learn that supports young adults with additional needs via cooking and more.

“My mission has always been to bring love, empathy and understanding to communities, and to create an open and safe space for people to be their authentic selves in a completely non-judgmental environment,” she says (follow @bridgetscafestratford).

Suela Cafe
Suela, on the corner of Olympic Avenue. Photo: SE

Also in this manor is Suela, a more upscale newcomer behind Timber Lodge whose name is not, in fact, a reference to the current Home Secretary: instead it’s the fusion of the owner’s two daughters’ names. Ahhh.

This is a treat-place that’s licensed and does everything from brunches to cocktails, and boasts an extensive list of salads, burgers and sarnies (follow @suelacafebistro).

Badu Cafe
Morning sun: Badu Cafe. Photo: SE

Finally, just over the River Lea by the Copper Box Arena are two more newbies. Copper Street Cafe opened last week on, yes, Copper Street: it serves the usual brunch options, with plenty of plant-based dishes, as well as coffee. It’s also fully licensed (follow @copperstcafe).

And the latest addition, which only opened yesterday in the sunny courtyard next to Hackney Bridge streetfood hall, is the stylish new Badu Cafe (follow @badu.cafe).

There you have it, people: five new options for that breezy weekend brunch or coffee stroll. You’re welcome.

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