|Halloumi and rocket bagel, Browns of Brockley|
Every neighbourhood should have a cafe like Browns of Brockley. One visit to this laid-back coffee shop in SE4 and I was on the Rightmove app, checking out house prices in the area. The coffee's that good.
Browns of Brockley isn't trying to do anything flashy or ground-breaking. It's the kind of simple, white-walls-and-wooden-tables outfit you see all over the place in Sydney or Melbourne, for example. Smiley baristas ferry Square Mile coffees around the room: to locals perched at the communal table, dogs sleeping at their feet; to Goldsmiths students sat in the window absorbed in their laptops; and to commuters about to hop on the London Overground at Brockley Station, just yards from the cafe.
|Square Mile mocha, Browns of Brockley|
A small but enticing selection of cakes and bready treats (custard tarts, brownies, bagels) in the window beckons in passers by. The toasted bagel with Halloumi, red pepper, rocket and a sweet, tangy onion jam pictured above was delicious - though admittedly it's hard to go wrong with grilled Halloumi. Oh, squeaky, salty wonder cheese.
A retro lemon slice had a crumbly bottom juxtaposed with a thick, creamy lemon curd and a pleasing bit of crackle on the top. It was sugary enough to drill holes in the molars though, and a slice split between the two of us was plenty.
|Lemon slice, Browns of Brockley|
Browns of Brockley has a really warm, community-driven feel about it. Everyone is greeted like a regular and there's a small noticeboard of flyers advertising the local farmer's market and other initiatives by the till. There's even a screen behind the counter displaying live departures for the station. Dogs are welcome and Ross's pooch, Ludd the pug, is both a regular fixture and the cafe's mascot, appearing on the menu and the loyalty cards.
|Browns of Brockley, SE4|
On Thursday nights the cafe is open late for 'Pizza Thursdays' with wood-fired Homeslice pizzas and craft beers from the Magic Rock Brewing Company. Pizza, dogs, friendly faces and excellent coffee: the residents of Brockley are lucky indeed.
Browns of Brockley, 5 Coulgate Street SE4 2RW.
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