A review of Arthur’s Cafe, Kingsland Road, E8
Arthur Woodham was born on Christmas Day 1927. He and his family have run a traditional British café in Kingsland Road, Dalston since 1935.
Arthur is a truly fascinating gent who likes and maintains a routine. I met him at La Brasserie in South Kensington one Saturday last year and in the time since we’ve become firm friends and meet each week. When another of the group who regularly gather at the happy hour asked what made him come to South Kensington for drinks, Arthur jovially replied: “I don’t drink in my manor.”
The oldest cafe in the Kingsland Road, Arthur’s itself attracts a wide and varied clientele of builders, locals and old ladies. The actor Ade, who appeared in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, is often to be spotted here and others include the businessman Stephen Annett, who ventures over from Kensington for breakfast from time to time. Arthur welcomes all with a cheery smile and his family, equally, are hospitable in the extreme.
At Arthur’s Cafe, no toast is served after 11.30am and no chips are served before noon. Serviettes and glasses are placed on the tables at 11.30am also and at this juncture Arthur puts on a fresh jacket. Here indeed is a well-run business where sequenced order reigns.
The menu is simple but the ingredients used are of the highest quality. A particular highlight of the full English breakfast had to be the sausages. Arthur proudly told us that these come from a butcher who also supplies Marks & Spencer and frankly they were amongst the finest I’d tried in an age. Equally, Arthur’s mustard was powerful and punchy and I must highly commend that as well as the delicious crusty bread.
Tea at Arthur’s Cafe is very much of the builder’s variety: robust, rich and strong brown in colour. A note of sophistication comes also in the form of the San Pellegrino Aranciata orange juices that are also available.
We’ll leave the final word with Arthur himself:
“I like it, this is my life. You’ve got to like it to keep in it. I meet people. I speak to people. In the cafe, if you like it, you make a lot of friends.”
Arthur’s Cafe, 495 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AU. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7254 3391.
Watch a video feature by Cavan Clerkin on Arthur’s Cafe at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaHh3FNG8OU