October Cafe is sadly now closed
October Cafe Vegan Patisserie
London vegans are certain to be charmed by this new egg and dairy free bakery. With a concentration on vegan versions of both British and French classic pastries and cakes, owner Peter Murphy has managed to create a welcoming and comfortable space that won't put non-vegans off (not that any vegan establishment should, but we all know how it goes).
Old fashioned tea trolleys line the front window, stacked with cupcakes, scones, and other homemade confections. Along with sweet stuff there's a good selection of savoury snacks too, many of which are gluten free (walnut crust pasties and onion flan featured in the lineup the day we visited).
In the front every wall is covered in vintage inspired wallpaper, each surface with a different print that brings the whole personality of the place together, while bold red decor bestows a cosy hidden feel upon second room in back.
After cycling from near London Bridge to Old Street, using London's cycle hire scheme, we were all fired up for some coffee and something sweet (any excuse for caffeine and sugar, really). I decided on the crostata di frutta (from £2.50) and Paul opted for the Dublin gur cake (£2.50), both excellent choices. The latter was a firm packed fruit cake, not overly sweet, a filling treat that would be perfect for a hiking or biking snack (hint: they do take-away). The fruit tart was divine. Topped with strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi fruit, it featured a creamy (but also not too sweet) base in a crispy tart crust. I've had this baby on my mind ever since.
Stop, Coffee Time!
A bit of a coffee nerd myself, I was also immeasurably impressed by Peter's interest in serving the good stuff. We discussed a couple of roasters around town, agreed on the best of the best (Monmouth, naturally), and touched on the importance of espresso to milk ratio. Served in proportionally accurate cup sizes, I'm impressed by the dude's budding barista skills and general knowledge (all too often it seems cafes think owning a branded espresso machine means they can make good coffee). There's a choice of rice or soy milk for your drinks, with the added bonus of Bonsoy for a little extra (for those who haven't heard of Bonsoy, it's the absolute best soy milk for espresso based coffee drinks).
October Cafe left a very good taste in my mouth, both literally and figuratively. The owner is knowledgable and committed, and it's always nice to see someone follow their dreams even when it might be difficult (anyone who thinks opening and running a business is easy needs a lesson in the real world). This is the sort of place where you can leave your politics behind and enjoy what must be London's cheapest cream tea (and it's a vegan cream tea to boot) in a beautifully decorated and enthusiastically run new London vegan hotspot.