Daniel Hughes, former head chef at Carnevale, opened Blue Brick Café in 2010, breathing new life into the former Victorian dairy after its previous incarnation as a greasy spoon. The vegetarian corner cafe is both cosy and stylish, in an understated way, and is filled with natural light thanks to its huge windows. Grey pendant lights hang above unvarnished wooden tables, and shelves and windowsills house an eclectic array of vintage teapots and ornaments, adding a splash of colour and bohemian quirkiness to the neutral decor.
The cafe’s popular all-day breakfast menu is extensive, with options to suit all appetites – from porridge to large cooked breakfasts complete with homemade baked beans. The chalkboard lunch menu offers a soup of the day, three sizeable salads and four hearty mains – usually a spicy chickpea stew, an expertly flavoured curry, a more traditional pasta dish and savoury pancakes. There are also tempting daily specials. And if you fancy something sweet, you have the choice of an old-school dessert like banoffee pie or fruit crumble, or one of the delicious cakes. All of the dishes are beautifully presented – the salads are topped with dainty fresh flowers – and they taste as good as they look.
There are several vegan options on the menu, including half of the cakes, and the majority of dishes can be made vegan on request. To drink, there’s tea, coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. The cafe also offers half-size, half-price food and drink for children, so it’s a great choice for families. It’s also a perfect place for catch ups with friends or quiet time with a coffee and a book, but not for working – laptops aren’t allowed at weekends or between 12pm and 3pm on weekdays, which helps to keep the atmosphere convivial.
East Dulwich is now one of the most popular places to eat out in South London, and the friendly Blue Brick Café continues to hold its own. Just to remember to bring cash as cards aren’t accepted.