Good Hope Cafés – London

Can you imagine being able to eat breakfast and drink a warm cup of coffee for a good cause? Sounds a little too good and easy to be true? Well, not in Lewisham!

If you head to south-east London and are in need of a bite to eat or a warm beverage, make sure to swing by a Good Hope Cafés!

There are three cafés: one in Hither Green, one in Ladywell Fields and one on Lewisham High Street. My favourite is the Hither Green one simply because it is a bit cosier than the others. The three places support the same cause though!

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

The cafés were created following the passing of Jimmy Mizen, a young schoolboy who was attacked in 2008. Rather than revenge, his parents decided to focus on compassion and to invest in the local community to make it safer for young people. In 2009, they founded the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, now known as For Jimmy. The charity is working to involve the young local people so they feel part of any decisions affecting their lives. They are encouraged to change positively the communities they live in.

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

“I want you to take hope and encouragement from all that we do. Please don’t feel sorry for us, but take strength and determination to work for change. It starts with each one of us. Let’s work together to bring peace in memory of our fine young people who have lost their lives to violent crime.”

Margaret Mizen, MBE

A great cause and an important one, London has been struggling a lot with youth violence over the past decade. The type of attacks Jimmy was a victim of unfortunately often make the headlines in London and big cities in general.

Now, what about the food? Nothing too fancy here. The menu is simple but everything is tasty! For breakfast, you will find the regular eggs on toasts, breakfast muffins and pastries. For lunch, you can order nice toasty sandwiches which will keep you full until dinner.

Good Hope Cafe breakfast muffin

And if you are visiting between meal times you will find some tasty cakes! What’s not to like?

The best part is that all the cafés employ local young people, giving them valuable work experience to help them as they grow into adulthood. All the money collected is reinvested in the cafés and help support the various charity’s programmes.

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

Andrew and I live very close by and often go there for a tasty (and reasonably priced!) brunch. In addition to all the good For Jimmy is doing, we particularly enjoy going there as we believe it is important to support local businesses. Eat local, shop local, create local jobs and be part of the local virtuous circle!

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Canary Wharf from Hilly Fields

Hilly Fields is my favourite park next to my house, mainly because of the great views.

London – 2018


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Brunch at Sparrow – London

I have been a Londoner for seven years now. Five of them were spent in my beloved Shepherd’s Bush and the last two have been spent in Lewisham.

If you are from out of town, you probably have never heard of Lewisham, or if you have it would probably be because of the fire station scene in Bridget Jones. If you are living in London you may probably think “Lewisham, oh dear, is that even safe?”. Lewisham has not the best reputation, I will give you that. It is still very much at the early stages of ‘up and coming’ but you cannot beat the prices when you are looking for a house to buy in London.

Slowly but surely though, there have been some nice little places opening making Lewisham city centre less gritty, one of them is Sparrow.

Sparrow Lewisham

We had been to Sparrow before, but it was for dinner straight off the plane from Japan, and with the jet-lag we weren’t really able to fully appreciate the meal. So this review is only about their brunch and I guess I will have to visit again to let you know about the dinner (life is hard).

We headed mid-morning to Lewisham roundabout where Sparrow is. The area is being fully redeveloped and you will find Sparrow squeezed between a shopping centre and a development site. It doesn’t sound great, but never judge a book by its cover!

Inside, the place is how you would expect any trendy restaurant in Shoreditch to look like. Subway tiles, open kitchen, young friendly staff, overall a very pleasant atmosphere.

Sparrow Lewisham

The menu is very interesting too, between the traditional full-English breakfast and the eggs Benedict, you will find some more surprising dishes inspired by Sri Lanka cuisine, such as poori masala and appam.

Sparrow brunch menu

We placed our order – one full-English for him, one appam for me.

The full-English was beautiful, with vibrant colours and great flavours! One very satisfying breakfast.

Sparrow full-English breakfast

I didn’t know what to expect with the appam, having never had one. It was delicious! Appam is similar to a pancake and made with fermented rice and coconut milk. Light, crispy and fluffy, with delicious flavours of coconut milk, a very nice discovery if you are not too hungry.

Sparrow appam

With that we ordered the fresh juice and smoothy of the day, which were exactly what we needed after a little too many drinks the night before.

Sparrow juice and smoothie of the day

Slowly but surely, Lewisham is finally becoming a destination Londoners go to for a good meal! We will need many more nice eateries to compete with trendy East London of course, but with places like Sparrow, I think we will be just fine!

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