Photographs by Bow Arts
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New look Nunnery Café up and running

The Nunnery Gallery on 181 Bow Road has opened a new look in-house cafe, aptly named the Nunnery Café.

Its opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm. It has step-free access, wifi, and a vegetarian menu, mirroring Bow Arts’ green ethos.

The new look Nunnery Café is headed by Lucinda Kingsworth, who spent seven years at the at the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green. She oversaw the Gallery Cafe going 100% vegan, and for the Nunnery Café has crafted a fully vegetarian menu.

The Nunnery Cafe menu includes pastries made by Rinkoffs, cakes made by Jackie Jaffer, soft drinks by Karma Cola, tea by Tea Pigs, and AllPress coffee roasted in Dalston. Sandwiches are prepared in-house each day and on weekends dishes include mushroom on toast and scrambled eggs.

The reopening comes after previous Carmelite cafe owner moved to Amsterdam in November last year. Bow Arts took the opportunity to bring the new-look Nunnery Café in-house and align it more neatly with their creative ethos.

Artist Steuart Padwick designed the interior. Its three primary colours – yellow, blue, and orange – were inspired by the Nunnery Gallery’s 19th century tiled floor. They are custom shades specially made by Dulux for the cafe.

The adjacent Nunnery Gallery is effectively now two galleries in one. The Nunnery Café will be used to showcase the work of Bow Arts artist. Nunnery director Sophie Hill hopes the move will provide a platform for affordable art. The hangings will change three or four times a year.

It is also the new home of the Nunnery Gallery’s shop, freeing up exhibition space and meaning cafe goers can grab a book or print between coffees.

Both Kingsnorth and Hill are hoping to develop a programme of events that sees the Nunnery Café take on a life of its own. An inaugural vegetarian supper club will take place on 30 April, while the possibility of book clubs, wine tastings, and embroidery workshops is also being explored.

The cafe is up and running, with a community launch event scheduled to take place on Saturday 18 May.

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Frederick O'Brien

Fred is a writer and researcher with a background in sustainable development. His research has featured in The Independent, the Evening Standard, and the New York Post, among others.

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