The cafe is one of many projects run by St Margaret’s House, a Bethnal Green charity that has been supporting creativity, wellbeing and cultural events in the local community since 1889.
Attached to the grand St Margaret’s House, the cafe is large, with high ceilings, a wooden parquet floor, local artwork on the walls, and a conservatory at the back, which allows light to pour in during the day. In the evening, low lighting and fairy lights create cosiness and warmth. The tables comfortably seat four, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating too.
Inside, low music is drowned out by the sound of lively conversation. Despite being busy, and at times noisy, the cafe has a relaxed atmosphere. It’s common for people to drop by to work or read a book while having a coffee or a bite to eat.
The cafe serves breakfast until 12pm, with options including a full English, potato pancakes, a superfood breakfast bowl and avocado on toast. The lunch menu is then available from 12pm to 5pm, which includes a roasted veggie wrap, falafel wrap, classic burger, stir fry, and three seasonal daily specials.
Also on offer are fresh focaccia sandwiches with fillings like vegan sausage or avocado and pesto; cupcakes (occasionally from Ms Cupcake); cookies and pastries. There’s the usual hot drinks, soft drinks and fresh juices to choose from, plus wine and beer.
Events are held throughout the week at St Margaret’s House and in The Gallery Cafe itself. There are film screenings, live music nights, yoga sessions, arts projects and a book club – many are free.
The Gallery Cafe and St Margaret’s House have a lot to offer, and as all of the cafe’s profits go straight back into the charity, you’re not the only one who’ll benefit from your visit.