Sunday 11 November 2012

Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue, East London

On the ground floor of a distressed Edwardian red brick block on the edge of Arnold's Circus, Leila's Shop is a cool and compact cafe. There are about half-a-dozen wooden tables inside, enclosed by white clapboard walls and a kitchen counter. This open plan arrangement, which means you can see the kitchen staff working away among the pans and other paraphernalia, gives the place a homely feel.  There are also a couple of tables outside, where you can perch on green plastic seats. The blackboards tend to offer simple dishes, such as a ploughman's lunch (about £7), sandwiches, porridge with prunes and molasses (£3) and fried eggs & sage (£5). If you are there in the afternoon, you might prefer one of the hefty chocolate brownies, served on a wooden chopping board, with your cup of tea or coffee. Leila's Shop's understated ambiance attracts an urbane, cosmopolitan crowd. 7/10