The perfect place in East London for breakfast or lunch.
Especially if you want to be outdoors.
Or, this episode is on YouTube, too:
I love Towpath Café. I don’t go very often because it’s not really on the way to anywhere for me and I don’t love queuing. It’s worth it though. And if you’re meeting someone to catch up with them then it’s not so bad if you start that catch up standing in the sun by a pretty canal lined with interesting buildings.
The food at Towpath is delicious. It hits all the right notes. It’s a short-ish menu because the kitchen is tiny but they still manage to make cookies and cakes from scratch, too. They make so many of the things from scratch.
The walnut, oat and chocolate cookie is one of my favourites in London. It’s made using Pump Street Chocolate. If you can’t get to Towpath then the recipe is in their book Towpath: Recipes and Stories which was published in 2020 (their 10 year anniversary). It was a finalist in the Guild of Food Writers’ Awards in 2021.
The café is still run by the co-owners Lori de Mori and Laura Jackson. Beautiful and talented women who have created a real heart in the East London community.
More on the podcast (Episode 21) or, if you prefer, in the excerpt of the transcript below.
Read the transcript of Episode 21 where Jen talks about Towpath Café
[00:13:04] I talked about Ottolenghi before. So I won’t say much, except that it was so nice to go for dinner where every single dish was so interesting and just so well made. And so delicious. My favorite was, um, a charred Hispi cabbage with Pico de gallo, pickled walnuts, fried capers, and tofu cream. Definitely not something I’m going to be making on a Friday night. Happened to be vegan as well.
[00:13:31] Speaking of food that is delicious and just made with love. The breakfast I had at Towpath is exactly that. And it’s why people come again and again and again to this beautiful little spot on the canal in Hackney. I will warn you now that if you haven’t been and you want to go, there are generally queues.
[00:13:52] So, try and go in off peak times, it’s open Wednesday to Sunday and only from March until November, because the seating is all outside, except for one of the little kind of industrial kiosks that they… they have four: they cook from one, there’s the bar in the next one, then there’s a tiny seating area, and then there is their larder.
[00:14:12] When Lori de Mori and Laura Jackson opened the business in 2010, they were making all the food or Laura was making all the food from Lori’s apartment, which was across on the other side of the canal. So they’d take the order, make it, and then someone would have to carry it to the cafe, which is kind of mental.
[00:14:30] Laura says they went able to have gotten that extra space to put the kitchen in. Then the business wouldn’t have continued, but it has, and it is a real heart of the community. They also have a podcast where they interview some of their regulars and some chefs. So that’s worth checking out as well.
[00:14:47] All the links for everything that I talk about in the podcast are at thenextdeliciousthing.com and the link is in the show notes or underneath if you’re watching this on YouTube. Lori and Laura didn’t know each other when [00:15:00] Lori suggested going into business. She’d seen these kiosks become available.
[00:15:04] These, like, tiny little arches just from looking out of her window. And she met Laura when Laura was cooking a season in France. She just proposed to her that they go into business together without really knowing each other. But, um, it’s a really beautiful partnership. Lori has the most amazing welcome, like hospitality is just so heartfelt and, and Laura’s cooking is phenomenal.
[00:15:28] So the cookbook I mentioned that came out in 2020 was nominated for, it was a finalist in the Guild of Food Writers Awards in 2021, and it’s divided by month. So it’s very much seasonal cooking. Laura really cooks the kind of food that she wants to eat. And it’s like slightly more complex than we’d probably cook for ourselves, not being chefs, but, uh, yeah, divided by months.
[00:15:52] So you can cook all the recipes that they make regularly in the cafe and you can choose them by what’s actually in season. There are also stories in there as well, and the recipe people, my favorite product that they make, which is their Walnut oat and chocolate cookie. It’s insane.
[00:16:12] They make it with Pump Street Chocolate and it is just, yeah, one of the best cookies. So definitely worth getting the cookbook just for that alone. The other thing I had at breakfast was … I did have cookies for breakfast, of course. But the other thing I had was the Moringa tomatoes with mojo verde. It’s intensely herby, garlicky deliciousness.
[00:16:33] I promised the very niche recommendations for children’s cakes. I tried from both of these makers. One is called her’s nest in South Woodford, and the other is Mama Mae’s and they are based in Hackney. They both do excellent tasting cakes, beautifully decorated. So if you know anyone in east London, then send them that way.
[00:16:53] There’s a separate blog post for this on thenextdeliciousthing.com so it should be easy to find. [00:16:58] I am heading to Istanbul in a few days. So if you have any food recommendations for there or any recommendations, I would really appreciate them. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a private message on social media @thenextdeliciousthing. I can’t wait to share with you all the things that I try there.