We have to remember that the Hornbeam Café in E17 is a community space and not a restaurant like say, La Delice, a mile or so along the road towards The Bell (refurbished). Last night it became a restaurant serving a seaonal supper. The enterprise was managed by Organiclea and The Hornbeam Café who were out to promote organic products from Hawkwood Allotments up in Chingford and the bread made by community-minded local bakers. I do believe they were preaching to the choir.
The Hornbeam Café is well known in the Bakers Arms area as the hippy recycling centre, a place out of sync with the curry and chicken shops, Iceland and Tesco. It’s dead easy to find even for Dial-A- Ride and buses stop almost outside its purple door. Easy to find but not always open. It’s a part-time eaterie. It’s a part-time art gallery, music venue and club space. Nothing wrong with it at all. For its businesses it is in a great location with a pavement in Bakers Avenue for on- street marketing, be it veg or bicycles and a long back yard for storing Forest Recycling Project preloved goods and for Organiclea volunteers to pack up organic veggie boxes for distribution by bike to paying customers.
The dinner was very good and the proportions generous. The wait for the main course was unacceptable really but was accepted. Stepping into the Hornbeam is like going home so no-one wants to make miserable noises about the cold chestnut cutlets or the cold cauliflower. The staff, always nice, deserve better. I’d come in out of the cold and was warmed by the candle-light and cheered up by the colourful RAGWORKS textiles on the wonky walls.
The three course meal cost me £14.00 in real money. And then it was time for The XFactor Finals. Ah, sweet life.