Coffee in Camberwell — the public speak

With the news that two new cafés, Daily Goods Coffee and Sun Café, will be opening shortly, it seems we’re having somewhat of a coffee (re-)naissance in the area at the moment. This is something I feel I should be writing about, yet feel uniquely unqualified for: I just don’t like coffee. So I thought I’d open this up to the public on Twitter, and here present my crowd-sourced guide to Camberwell café society.

One of the latest to open, and perhaps the most popular in all the responses, is Fowlds. The upholsterer, a fixture of Addington Square for so many years, has converted the front of their workshop into a café which is petit but trés chic (not sure why I went French with that). It’s away from the centre of Camberwell, meaning it’s probably little known; as David O’Mara said, “only realised Fowlds was near to where I live a short time ago, definitely think its the best in the area”. Celia agreed: “Fowlds all the way”. Vaguechera says “Fowlds is the perfect coffee spot — super coffee, lush cake, great little spot to hang out and a nice friendly vibe”, and Kat Brown adds “I went to Fowlds specially and it was lovely — great atmosphere, coffee, food”. Burgess Park also chimed in, saying Fowlds is “awesome! Double thumbs up. Be great if there could be more outside seating” (it is on the small side).

Maloko, on Church Street, also has positive reviews. Peckham Burger says “I like Maloko. Nice coffee, good music, smells divine and the most charming service. A little gem.” Jane Common addedI like the coffee, and lots of others speak highly too, in the Brazilian place” (it’s Cameroonian, I think).

Just down the road, Sammy Boy says House is “always friendly, and have good coffee! Plus you can sit in the window and feel like an artsy display!”, and Anna Mazzola says House have the “best cappuccino in SE5!  House also came in for praise from Sam B (no relation), who mentioned Flying Coffee Bean in Denmark Hill station too.

Peterwalker99 cast a vote of confidence for No. 67 “by miles. Some of the best in London, I’d say.” Andy seconded that.

My wife may not be a fan of Cafe Noir, but it has its enthusiasts. James Piper says “Cafe Noir all the time. Great loyalty card. 5 coffees then a free one.” Camberwell Carrots spoke up in favour of Angels & Gypsies and Cool Cats Café. At the weekend, M Degen prefers “my caffeine fix from the guy on Camberwell Green market.”

Less enthusiasm was shown for Costa, recently opened on Denmark Hill. Jo C sayson principle never Costa support local crews ie Love Walk, Eroma, Cafe Noir”. I have to point out here that Costa was a local crew — they started as a roastery in Lambeth some 40-odd years ago and opened their first retail branch in Vauxhall in 1978. Now as chain as chain can be, of course.

No-one mentioned Cycle PS or Cafe at the Ortus, which I’m sure is purely a matter of oversight, not opinion. And this is far from an exhaustive list (not a coffee drinker, remember?), so apologies if I’ve missed anyone out.

For me, you can keep your coffee; I’ll be trying out the wine at the newly-opened wine bar Le Tire Bouchon instead.

Update: Café Florence, opposite Love Walk Café on Denmark Hill, is tipped by HowardS: “Its coffee is really good and it is far superior in almost all ways to Love Walk, if you’re up this part of town.”


Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

62 thoughts on “Coffee in Camberwell — the public speak”

  1. I think Cafe Florence needs a mention, on the opposite side of the road from Love Walk cafe. Its coffee is really good and it is far superior in almost all ways to Love Walk, if you’re up this part of town.

  2. Thanks for this Peter.

    Anyone know of anywhere showing the Froch v Groves fight on Saturday night?

    Peace, all.

  3. Enough of the coffee…Frank’s Bar is opening again on June 6. That means summer must be here

  4. The Old Dispensary is a good bet, ‘Wolf, but better check first. Also, the fights don’t always start on time, eh?

    The Old Dispensary is now really nice.

  5. A great round-up! One more recent addition is the Koala Coffee stand at the Saturday Farmers Market on the Green. With outside seating a bit of a rarity in Camberwell, we’ll be visiting a lot as summer gets closer!

  6. Oh I love coffee in the market. If only we could get more stalls — good thing Marsh Farm is a regular, that chicken is gorgeous.

    The Old Dispensary is the most beautiful building, but exudes a rather terrifying forcefield around it. Should I give it a go, or is it not one for slightly nervous-looking Camberwellian females?

  7. The Greek bread at Aphrodite is brilliant.

    Kat, last time I was in the Dispensary, watching a Danish minor-league play-off final, the atmosphere was almost scholarly apart from a few really quite young Camberwell ladies enjoying a drink together.

    They may not have been Belles from Bellenden or Gels from the Grove, but they were Camberwell girls nevertheless and had the unmistakeable whiff of mirth and cider that that entails, contributing much more merriment to the atmosphere than the kick-bollock-scramble of the soccer on offer on screen.

  8. The new managers of the Old Dip have invested quite heavily in trying to make the place more open to the general public, even going so far as to ban some of the more terrifying old fellas that used to drink in there. They’ve diversified the beers, got some decent food in (Pieminister pies), opened up the interior to make it more amenable to eating.

    While I’d avoid it on a match day if you’re of a nervous disposition, I’d certainly give it another chance if you haven’t been in in a while.

    Oh, and they have a lovely dog, Buster.

  9. That’s good, Gabe. You’re nearly there.

    First I heard, then saw,
    a flock of geese flying east
    yesterday evening — I felt awe.

  10. JES HOLDEN’S funeral is tomorrow, FRIDAY 6 JUNE 2014, followed by a family and friends do at the Crooked Well in the afternoon, then a full-blown wake at the Hermits Cave from 7pm.

    THE HERMITS CAVE will be the place to be for all well-wishers of Camberwell and Jes from 7pm. The whole world is welcome to this special wake, because this was his public house and because Jes was a bright light of Camberwell for many years.

    SE5 FORUM people will know him from designing and managing all the Forum stuff from the start. Millwall Football Club looks a lot more professional and creditable from all his work there. He helped keep its character real London.

    Jes was a talented and successful art director in London for decades, making his way from scratch in a very hard world. He and his girlfriend bought a wreck of a house in Camberwell, camped in it, lived in it produced two real Camberwell girls.

    I worked with Jes but mainly we were Camberwell friends as only Camberwell people can be with our like of Camberwell and all what it means, yeah.

    FIND OUT WHAT CAMBERWELL REALLY MEANS. Come to the Hermits Cave and its creche across the road, STORMBIRD, tomorrow evening, Friday 6 June 2014.

    YOU MAY BE GOING TO CAMBERWELL GREEN ANYWAY, or passing, or whatever. But I plead to you, suggest, seduce — people of Camberwell, all people, of all kinds, no matter how long you have been here — ten seconds will do — no how unimportant you are — yes, you! — many are called, but few are JES HOLDEN -

    drop by the Hermits Cave tomorrow night — it will be a warm Friday night — and a real do, for him, for us, for you.

  11. OK, well, the fabulous Britannia class “Oliver Cromwell” chuffed through Camberwell yesterday pulling its maroon-coached British Railways train full of pencil-moustachioed bank managers and their horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing wives amongst other ghostly throwbacks, like ghoulish vicars and strangely effeminate market-town solicitors.

    Aye, we are proud to have this railway line running through the parish, pulling passengers from whatever era, from whence, to where, we shall never really know.

    Ah, but it is we ourselves who are travelling through our own lives, on a holiday of sorts, towards a seaside town where ample landladies will laughingly welcome us to their cabbage and fish smelling guesthouses with our own, faded photographs already on the walls from years ago, strangely from many, many years ago, swell in our straw hats and blazers.

    For this is the magic of Camberwell, the crossroads between this life, that life and the other life, not forgetting the world and his wife.

  12. Living in Brockley after twenty years in Camberwell I don’t coffee in SE5 any more. Although I looked at Seymours’ with a view to taking it on, it needed a hefty premium and a lot of work doing to it so gave it a miss. WE would have done Pizza there too. Like we were going to do at Safa and upstairs at Funky Munky a bunch of other opportunities in Camberwell. All too expensive, paying premiums to landlords to buy a failed business. Will be resurrecting elsewhere…

    Frank’s Cafe used one of my photographs of their bar for their twitter header.

    Where is Tire Bouchon Peter? I know I passed it somewhere but where exactly escapes me.

  13. Mark J Dodds

    Le Tire Bouchon is the old Su Thai restaurant at the top of Coldharbour Lane…

    I seem to remember that location as a French Bistro Type cafe before the Thai restaurant moved in…

    Maybe I’m wrong

  14. So Eusebiovic, tell us, what with Portugal’s amazing 95′ equaliser last night, they still have a chance, right?

    It’s been hot so I can’t work out what beckons for them next and neither can our daughter’s friend’s Portuguese childminder in hot Ruskin Park. The previous childminder was Brazilian.

  15. @Dagmar

    Don’t talk football to me unless it’s Dulwich Hamlet!

    My three sides Spain, England and probably Portugal too — all knocked out in the first round…

    What are the chances of that happening?

    What would Paddy Power and his tax free paying buddies Fred and William have said about it all…

  16. For those disinterested in the football, Pathé News recently uploaded their entire archive onto Youtube. Amongst the 90,000 videos is this story of a monkey being captured in Brunswick Park in October 1924:

    “Joey” escaped from his cage in the garden of a house on Sansom Street and made his home on the rooftops of Benhill Road. He became a minor celebrity and large crowds gathered to watch as he foiled the attempts of policemen, firemen and ladder-climbing experts to catch him. After 13 days of freedom he was finally captured by Mr John Jarvis, a professional ratcatcher from the area, who claimed to be using as bait a “secret concoction given him by an Eastern sailor”.

    Joey escaped again twice the following year, each time drawing large crowds, and his notoriety spread across the country. His rock and roll lifestyle took its toll however, and he sadly died in the summer of 1926 of pneumonia brought on by alcohol withdrawal. Poor old Joey Camberwell!

  17. Stonking, tomsk, best post for months.

    Immediately, there is a problem at Vanguard Court. The owners want to turn half of it into bijou homelets for non-entity bankers, basically, the most so-not-Camberwell planning you could ever think of.

    You can write with your objections to:


    If you want more info, you can find the full plans/documents here:

    … and read more about the Design and access statement here:


  18. LYNDHURST PRIMARY SCHOOL FAIR today 1–4pm up Grove Lane by De Crespigny Park. PIMMS, donkeys and the best book stall this side of Amazon.

    Bring your drunk’s change from Friday night and enjoy a top highlight of the Camberwell season.

    All the fun of the fair.

    Plus Camberwell-grown children.

    “If you don’t like children, you won’t like these ones.”

  19. IT’S RAINING PIMMS at LYNDHURST SUMMER FAIR up Grove Lane this afternoon 1–4pm. Drinking Pimms amongst the warm summer showers sheltering under so-English gazebos like it’s scripted by Richard Curtis… but in Camberwell, now!

  20. Why, Miss Eilean, that is perfectly charming. To augment the delight of this swelligant piece, here is news of Uncle Tom from Camberwell, recently deceased. I have appended this here in the magazine before, but it warrants “a new outing”:

  21. @Gabe, I can recommend Martin. He fixed our gas leak very well recently. Only just moved to Camberwell and is a lovely, chatty chap.

    07950 381389.

  22. Dog Kennel Hill school summer fair today 12–4.30pm. Their steel band is excellent. Their stalls are marvellous. Their children are exemplarary.

  23. DOG KENNEL HILL SCHOOL summer fair was exactly how any primary school summmer fair should be. Their live music was fab. The children doing the movements to “Happy” was fab and the cake stall was like something out the final of “Strictly Come Baking”. Well done DKH, what a cool school.

    Voting is taking place in the international radio awards thing for which our own extraordinary Sly & Reggie are eligible: PLEASE VOTE. The link is below.

    If they win their UK category, they may be presenting Eurovision next year.

    How dada would that be, mama.

    Vote for “The Suburban Pirate Radio Show”.

  24. Off-thread, but here goes:
    For those of you with an interest in politics, there’s a film called “Pride” scheduled for release on 12 September, which tells the story of the London Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners Group (LGSM). The group first met on 11 July 1984 and twinned with Dulais Valley in South Wales. In the 9 months it existed, it raised +£25,000. And for a Camberwell angle, some of those responsible for getting the group up & running lived here (Jimmy Somerville lived on the Wyndham & Comber estate until Bronski Beat hit the charts with Smalltown Boy & there were 6–7 others) and the first meeting of the group took place in the home of the founding member Mark Ashton just up the road on the Heygate estate.
    Here is a link to the film trailer:
    Stars Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott and also Russell Tovey in a little cameo.
    It’s both touching and hilarious — but perhaps most importantly, it shows how far we have come in the intervening 30 years in terms of equality.
    When the strike came to an end, the South Wales mining communities organised a huge delegation to 1985 Lesbian & Gay Pride and led the march with their band — as a thank you for LGSM being the biggest donors to their appeal fund throughout the strike. The NUM went on to support a resolution on Lesbian & Gay equality at 1985 Labour Party Conference — prior to the strike, the NUM had resolutely opposed this policy. The film is the story of all this and more. And with an 80’s soundtrack too! Some of the story is fictionalised, but most is true — I know, because I was there.

  25. An interesting story Mushtimushta. The 80s sound track could be great, or not.

    Camberwell Choir School are performing Tears for Fears’ “Shout” for their summer concert.

  26. HO, ‘WELL DWELLERS! Superb review of Camberwell in today’s “Time Out” (15 July 2014) in their p.12 “Great Bits of London” No.17.

    “Revel in the oddities of this underrated corner of the south-east.”

    Totally, completely excellent quick run through some of the big features of Camberwell including Burgess Park and Pasha which are not normally mentioned at all.

    They seem to miss out the Cave & Stormbird for some reason UNTIL YOU GET TO THE END:


    “Hole up in the Hermit’s Cave. This Church Street boozer is for those who prefer atmosphere over fancy furnishings, and boasts a gargantuan array of insiders and eccentric old-fashioned drunks…”

    Makes me want to go there NOW!

    Welll done to “Time Out” and to Brendan & Moura for getting it so right.

  27. I saw the Right To Flight drone hovering over Rye Lane the other day. It was black and would be slightly menacing if it didn’t look so much like it was built by a conceptual artist. More here:



    Anyway, it’s the cool thing about Frank’s Cafe/Bar this year, which is now over-run by chino-bros (and they girlfriend equivalents)

  28. Thanks for the heads up on the Peckham Chamber Orchestra last night Gabe. Amazing stuff.

    The Liberal Club is a great venue (bar selection leaves something to be desired though!)

    The orchestra has an orphanage for any unloved musical instruments so if you have any going spare, get in touch with them.

  29. Good one MC. We didn’t make it to the Orchestra in the end.

    Meanwhile, I properly noticed the McNeil Road Guerrilla Garden this morning. Mainly because of the sunflower (and the laminate plastic sign). Rep to whoever got that together.

  30. Further reading on the drone/blimp occasionally seen hovering above Rye Lane reveals it is not a lashed-up effort of a conceptual artist as I had assumed, but is in fact a full-on “military-grade helikite”… that has been re-purposed for subversive ends… by a conceptual artist. So that’s that cleared up.

  31. Cheering news to be found about the a free screening of rare Edwardian films in Dog Kennel Hill Open Space on 30th August 2014 at 8:30pm.

    My favourite title has to be ‘It’s not my Parcel’. Very post modern

    Who knew there were so many lovies in Camberwell in 1904?

  32. The small protest that has been set up by a lovely Palestinian guy in Wren Road is one of those occasions that makes me really proud to be living in Camberwell. Its become a real talking point with people stopping and discussing the situation in Gaza. Go along and support him.

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