I was feeling weary and fragile. I had just had a physically demanding physiotherapy session and had been brutally beaten up (fine, it was a massage, but it was the painful kind). Throw in a grey and drizzly day and an email reminding me that my credit card statement was ready for viewing and I felt like I needed to escape to a faraway land. I had a little time to spare in between meetings so I thought I could do with a little pick-me-up and I knew just the place. Tucked away from the tourists and commuters in Waterloo is Lower Marsh Street; home to a lunch food market, a few independent coffee shops, restaurants and eclectic boutiques. I considered going to my usual coffee shop but I fancied something a little more inspirational today and instead found myself at Four Corners Café.
I love the positive vibe that oozes from this little coffee shop. The staff are friendly and smiling. The cakes and pastries are varied and appeasing to the eye. Everyone is chatting and laughing away while hip hop tunes play in the background. And let’s not forget the puns that adorn the walls (see cover photo). What I love the most is the sense of adventure I feel when I come here; every nook and cranny is decked out in travel memorabilia; collages made from scraps of travel books and maps, globes, an airline food trolley, and a neat row of travel books lined up for you to read at your pleasure as you while away the hours. Yes, this place makes me feel alive, full of excitement and consumed by wanderlust.
Unable to turn down the opportunity to have cake, I order a slice of chocolate Guinness cake to go with a flat white. I sat at the Lego table opposite two men engaged in a business meeting of sorts. It wasn’t hard to switch off from their conversation. I drifted off thinking of memories of previous travel adventures as well as dreaming of where I would like to be next as I sipped on my coffee made from locally-roasted Ozone Coffee beans. It was rich in flavour and smooth in texture; I really couldn’t fault it. The slice of chocolate Guinness cake had a rich and moist sponge layered and topped with buttercream then dusted with cocoa. The buttercream itself deserved to be praised; it was a silky, sweet and also with a hint of zest which lifted the richness of the sponge. It really was a big wedge of heaven and can easily be shared between two.
It’s not just cakes and coffee. Four Corners also serve a wide range of teas supplied by Yumchaa which I am eager to try next time I am here. Sandwiches and soups are served during lunch and they even have gin-based cocktails and beer and wine in the evening. But I couldn’t stay for the evening and the daydreams of sandy beaches, snorkelling with turtles and picturesque hikes were coming to close as I had to rush off to my next appointment. I stepped out of Four Corners into a picture of dreary and grey London but now I was feeling refreshed, uplifted and ready to take on the world. ∎
(Photography: Sarah Chu for Bubbobar)
Four Corners Café
12 Lower Marsh
London SE1 7RJ