Provisioners - Queen Elizabeth Street Clive Watson knows the area well having opened The Garrison and Village East on Bermondsey Street. Now he has opened Provisioners in The Dixon Hotel, by Tower Bridge. Its a cafe and restaurant with a real nod to the history of SE1 in the decor. Modern food fusions with some crowd pleasers as well as a 'Vegan fry-up'.
Monmouth Coffee - Borough Market One of the first wave of specialist retailers to arrive at Borough Market in the late 1990s, Monmouth Coffee Company has gone on to become one of the most revered names in British coffee and a pioneer in the recent renaissance of cafe culture. Coffee is available to buy as whole or ground beans, while the cafe serves single cone filter coffee and espresso-based drinks to drink in or take away.
The Bermondsey Yard Cafe - Bermondsey This is a fabulous dining concept situated at the heart of energetic and vibrant Bermondsey Street, SE1. This exciting and totally unique bar/restaurant is set in a disused car park which has been stripped back to its original industrial design features, exposing all its raw materials, contrasted against reclaimed furniture and cool lighting, creating a flexible space for work and play.
The Breakfast Club - London Bridge The word has spread about this achingly cool little cafe. Very trendy hipsters queue to squeeze into the booths and enjoy the kitsch decor. The breakfast is good though and its great fun, especially as it has a 70s themed disco downstairs accessed through the kitchen. But you have to know the password...
Italo - Vauxhall A proper local grocer and deli with a rustic feel. Its on Bonnington Square close to the Vauxhall gyratory, but you wouldn't know it surrounded by pot plants and drinking a great cup of coffee. The building was saved by a Turkish shopkeeper in the 1970s who refused to move when served with a compulsory purchase order. Squatters took over the surrounding buildings and whilst its now a bit more gentrified, the community atmosphere of this tranquil garden square remains.
Four Corners café - Waterloo A multi award winning café and its reputation is spreading deservedly. Its got a travel theme which works well and the food is excellent. Its also got a drinks licence with a huge variety of unusual poisons. Hopefully it wont become a chain as it would lose the magic.
The Scooter Caffe - Waterloo A very cool Vespa-themed cafe on Lower Marsh with a little terrace too. Walls filled with random nostalgic clutter and it even has its own resident cats to add to the eccentricity of the place. Excellent coffee and hot chocolate so thick you can chew it. It also serves alcohol and becomes more of a bar in the evening. Sunday night is film night if you fancy a movie. Board games are scattered about, so its a place to wallow for a bit, rather than grab and go.
Elliot's Café - Borough Market Located in Borough Market, this is another place with a inventive menu which changes seasonally and with exclusive coffee from the market. The burgers are reputed to be the best in London - a bold claim! Great for breakfast but more of a restaurant for lunch with prices to match. A superb rustic experience though. Very popular now, so worth booking to be sure of a table.
Cubana Street Food - Lower Marsh A Lower Marsh institution, with Latin American food and music. The food is good and inexpensive but its all about the atmosphere - so bring your dancing trousers and get into the mojitos. Not somewhere for a first date, or a romantic candlelit evening, but for a banging night - this one 'goes to 11!'
The Gentlemen Baristas - Union Street A new addition with rustic charm and an upstairs room to teach the art of coffee making, or have a meeting in private...with a little terrace too. Excellent chocolate cookies as well.
The Table - Southwark Street The architect - Allies and Morrison - put this café into their own HQ, so you can be sure that the atmosphere and food will be cutting edge. Very fresh food and impeccable service make this one of the best breakfast places around. Its got a nice little courtyard too.