Elmers End Cafe – perfect, give or take the tits

This morning I had a meeting in Elmers End, Beckenham – not that far from Croydon. I was a bit early so I spent the journey there craning out the car window in search of the sort of cafe that might sell a flat white and a pastry to a London ponce. I’m delighted I never found one because before I knew it I was in Elmers End pulling over at the sight of this.

1 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

It was the dizzying combination of yellow, net curtain and that shop sign that did it, though the net precluding any view inside made the experience of opening the door a bit intimidating. Being all brave like, I did it though finding myself in a room full of old blokes reading the Daily Mail, chatting to the owner while tucking into Chinese food, fry ups and cups of builder’s tea in glass cups.* Check out the inside…

*Ros loves a glass cup so that’s for her.

4 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

2 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

5 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

It turns out that Peter the owner is from Hong Kong and has, as the sign above says, been running Elmers End Cafe since 1980. Hence the part Chinese menu and soy sauce on all the tables. That’s him below by the table-till, dressed rather magnificently in a 70s tee shirt and red braces. He told me “I don’t like change much” and charged me £2 for a cup of tea and fried egg sandwich in the nicest soft bloomer bread the made me long for the death of Rye bread and its impossible-to-saw-through crusts. £2.

3 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's HouseIMG_6823

6 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

7 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

8 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House 9 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

10 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

There was only one downside and that was the little row of topless ladies in a frame otherwise dedicated to pictures of cars – men can be so weird. You can just about make out the lovelies below and in the words of my friend Sarah on instagram “Phwoar”. Indeed. But, you know, maybe that’s why I was the only lady in there.

12 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

Apart from that one blip I absolutely loved the place. If you’re passing through make sure you go and try not to behave like a nonsey hipster taking photos like I did (I was quite discreet).

11 Elmers End Cafe | My Friend's House

 

7 Responses to “Elmers End Cafe – perfect, give or take the tits”

  1. Hannah
    June 21, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Argh! I loved this post. I live in Beckenham and LOVE this cafe. It’s so without pretention and Peter is a v. funny man. I agree that the topless ladies is a bit bleurgh but this cafe is a gem and SO CHEAP.

    • myfriendshouse
      June 22, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

      It is so cheap!! I gave him three pounds, really pushed the boat out but it was the best bargain I’d had in years. What a great place to have so close to home.

  2. Debra Finn
    June 21, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    I used to go to school round the corner from that cafe! I love the fact that it’s not changed at all since I was at primary school, it makes me feel very young indeed.

    • myfriendshouse
      June 22, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

      Oh wow, well it’s worth going back for the cheapest nice breakfast inside the M25.

  3. Rachel G
    June 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    Gosh those formica tabletops whisked me back to my childhood so quickly my head was spinning! We also had bathroom lino that looked a bit like that…

  4. Madeleine
    June 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    Great Photos!, really beautiful, looks amazingly full of character. There’s something reassuring about places like this that don’t change.

  5. Shine Handicraft
    July 17, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    love this!! ♥ thanks for sharing…

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