Wednesday, July 12, 2006


This is one of my favourite cafes, but it's kind of out of the way. Hither Green is a 20 minute or so train ride south from Charing Cross, and You Don't Bring Me Flowers is just on the left as you exit the station. It's the kind of cafe you'd expect to find in Brooklyn, not the wilds of Sarf East London. I'm a bit obsessed with Brooklyn, since the only time I went there was about 9 years ago, having heard there was Stuff Going On. But we found not much had happened YET, or rather not much that a couple of foreigners driving round in a yellow cab could discern. Now thanks to the number of Brooklyn based blogs and New York Magazine I have built it up to be a kind of Valhalla for creative types, but less annoying than the east end of London. So, anyway there's really no other reason to visit this area on the outskirts of London except for this place. It's a residential area and the beginning of the dreaded suburbs.(Sorry Hither Green residents!) That's part of this cafe/florist's charm actually, how the owners have created a focus for the community where before there was nothing except a launderette, a newsagents' and a few greasy takeaways. Much like Brooklyn in the old days? Don't ask me. But buy a house in H.G, quick, just in case. The area has some nice, big Victorian villas, probably good schools and a park that's ok, but until You Don't Bring Me Flowers opened I would never have willingly set foot in Hither Green.

This is the kind of cafe I wish was around the corner from my house and I really think it's worth the trip. The owners have a great eye for flowers and furniture. It's hard to describe without using those much overused words vintage and retro, but the quirky, humourous bits and pieces sit together so well. I find it's the perfect place to get a bit of peace and quiet and a coffee in lovely surroundings. Everything is beautifully mismatched, from the teacups to the chairs and tables. A big 1950s American refrigerator hums away in the corner with a real proper record player on top, often playing Barbara Streisand records(hence the name). (Maybe it's a CD player - in my mind it's a huge old fashioned gramophone).

The flowers take up half the cafe, beautifully unusual ones that I never know the names of, and never see anywhere else. The food is simple and comfortingly English - toast and marmite, sausage rolls, lovely home made sandwiches and cakes. But they do make a good cappuccino. And half the fun is guessing what combination of cup and saucer you're going to get. I don't know, small things please small minds.


eurobrat said...


NB. Most of my teacups and saucers are mismatched- I love that detail.

Anonymous said...

Walking into a cafe that smells of fresh flowers is priceless! Beautiful and inspiring place...but what is upstairs?!
Daisy x

Anonymous said...

i have worked int his cafe..lovely people lovely coffee.. brilliant place..unstairs has like a secret mini garden.. love this hidden treasure.. kate xx