One of my favourite places I've discovered since moving south of the river (the shock, the horror) is Craftsman Café. It moved into the neighbourhood at about the same time I did. To the extent that we saw them hand-painting the trim and stencilling the logo on the front window (below right photo via the geo-tagged Instagram page). And I think for those reasons, though I've gone less in the colder months, this has become of my favourite places in London.
Why do I love coming here? It's impeccably stylish without the intimidation. It's a little mini oasis for me for some reason. My mind clears, I feel calmer. Maybe because I know I'm about to eat something delicious and fresh. I feel like everyone has those places or environments where all their worries about ambition and money and survival and responsibility just melt into the background. And Craftsman is just happens to be that place for me.
Unless it's noon on a Saturday and the joint is so rammed you can't get a seat. Guess you gotta share your oasis sometimes ;)
My recommendation on what to order? Iced coffee with soy milk in the summer. And always always always the Bermondsey Frier which is that cheese slab number above. The cheese is similar to halloumi in taste but better and stringier and meltier and gets this orgasmic golden crust on the outside. Can you tell this is a very special dish to me and I was very sad that I didn't have it this weekend? It comes on a bed of rocket, balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes, and a generous slice of chewy, jaw-breaking-in-the-best-way sourdough. The green dollop on top is shredded capers and packs a punch.
They're only open Fridays and weekends and shut quite early. And it's compact inside so don't expect an outlet you can park next to. But that's not what this place is for. It's for cheese and coffee and a little slice of aesthetic heaven.
105 Abbey Street, London SE1 3NP