Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Gallery Cafe

21 Old Ford Road
Bethnal Green
London E2 9PL
Tel. 0208 983 3624

Locate on Google Maps.

The Gallery Cafe is a tranquil oasis near the intersection of Old Ford Road and Cambridge Heath Road. I like to head here after a good workout at York Hall leisure centre, which is right next door. To get to the entrance of this place, you first walk though their outdoor seating and down a few steps into the cafe. Normally, restaurants downstairs are dark and gloomy, but not this place - even on a typical dark and overcast London day, the Gallery Cafe is bright and airy. The front of the restaurant is lined with windows and the rear consists of a bright conservatory which extends out behind the building.

As you enter, there's a counter to the right where you place your order. The menu is presented on boards behind the counter One of the boards explains, "All the food we serve is vegeterian, except that which is vegan," (or something to that effect).

The prices are good here, allowing two to have a satisfying lunch for around £9.

I have eaten here many times and have only been disappointed once, and that was with the veggie bangers and mash. My dining companion and I agreed that you can't beat sausages made with pig meat!

Here's a quick rundown of what I have eaten at the Gallery Cafe:

Spaghetti Bolognese - a delicious meatless version of spag bol served over a generous portion of pasta.

Jacket potato with goat's cheese - this is a sublime treat. The potato skin tastes like it was gently brined before being baked in a real oven (it was served too quickly to have been cooked in a microwave and must have been baked ahead of time.)

Spaghetti with pesto - the pesto appears to have been made fresh and with real extra virgin olive oil. My only criticism of this dish is that every time I order it my portion is very meagre - perhaps this is indicative of the precious nature of their pesto.

Chilli sin carne - a meatless version of chilli con carne is a nice treat to warm you up on a cold day. Chock full of meaty beans, chunky carrots and mushrooms - it goes down a treat.

A welcome bonus, which is free, comes from the self serve jugs containing water infused with flavour by slices of orange. Very refreshing and a nice touch.

Also on offer is a selection of cakes and pies that look as if they were made on the premises. I haven't tried these but they look good.

The coffee and teas are all organic. The coffee is above average for London - but not great.

Opening Hours
Mondays to Fridays
From 9 to 5
From 10 to 6
Sundays 11 to 4

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