Before my boyfriend moved we used to be a walking distance away from this lovely canal-side cafe.
He introduced this cafe to me back in the summer of 2014 when we just started dating; slowly waking up after a night out with the sun peeking through and the warmth kissing our feet. He always loves to go for a walk when the weather is that pleasant and sunny, me on the other hand .. not so much. I was more the lazy kind of person who would take a car or an Uber whenever I got the chance. But I must say; he infected me with this virus of ‘the lovely walks‘, and now I am less bothered of using my feet instead of sitting on soft leather and let the wheels do the work.
At first, when we were walking in that direction, I found it a bit of an odd area: Industrial buildings with some broken windows and some graffiti art here and there, narrow and quiet streets. He told me that there are a lot of these midnight parties going on in these buildings, you could hear it from his appartment complex.
Arriving at Counter Cafe, it seemed more like asmall canteen in an half-empty gallery to me – maybe a bit rude and spoilt-brat kind of way of saying it, but that was my first impression!
There was a long queue and you could hear people chatting in this almost echoey space, they had seating upstairs as well, all seats were occupied at that time. The cafe has one big black chalkboard presenting the dishes that they have that day, the lightwooden bar was fully packed with fresh baked cookies, tarts and freshly pressed juice. All the dishes on the chalkboard looked amazing and mouthwatering, but the french toast with berries and maple syrup catched my eye that first day. The coffee there is also of a very good quality; full of flavour, dark and strong. How coffee is supposed to be.
After ordering and paying for the food you get this wooden block with a number on it, meaning that the order will come to you later and you hope that the staff can find you on time before your food gets cold. It was then that I noticed that they have a terrace outside alongside the canal where you could see the Olympic Stadium and some boats.
We sat outside, and I was browsing all tables from behind my sunglasses. A soft summer breeze and the sparkling water as it catches the light of the sun, now and then a boat passes by.. It was a perfect early afternoon that day and I was also wondering how the staff would find us with the right order, but ofcourse it was all fine. There are many places –in East London at least – that use this system with numbered blocks and staff shouting your number or pass by twice. It is not the best system, but it works and I think it is quite suitable for in these quirky cafes.
Once we received our food; and as you can see on the picture above; it looked amazing! And I was so hungry, hopefully it tastes nice… and ofcourse it did. Super fresh zesty berries, the sweetness of the soft banana, the maple syrup drizzle and the slighty crunchy french toast… A-we-some. We came back a few times, but now my boyfriend moved, the last time we went there was last summer (2015), we are still not that far away from Counter Cafe, but you know how lazy I am…