Though most of us won’t remember 2020 fondly, many people finally had the opportunity to launch their passion projects, and for Chloe Bailey-Williams, that was The Breakhouse Cafe.
Dubbed, ‘year of the start-up’, over 770,000 small businesses were registered in 2020. One of these is Hackney Wick-based The Breakhouse Café, a vibrant, modern café which serves delicious food with a focus on using local, sustainable ingredients.
Founder Chloe Bailey-Williams first heard about a potential space for the café from a friend at the end of 2019, and even though the café was founded and launched during a pandemic, as Chloe puts it, ‘I felt like if I didn’t take the space, I’d always regret it.’
Nestled in an industrial estate in Fish Island, the café sits amid an eclectic range of neighbours that include arts and recording studios, local businesses and galleries. One of the easiest routes to the cafe is walking past the graffiti and street art on Wick Lane and then turning onto Dye House Lane.
Bailey-Williams, who has plenty of experience in hospitality from her time managing festivals, opened the café in September 2020 and The Breakhouse Café fits right in amidst this diverse collection of businesses.
It’s her passion for food and love for how it helps create communal experiences that led Bailey-Williams to start the venture. When talking about the café, it was clear how enthusiastic and excited she was about what she had helped to create: ‘I’d always wanted my own café or bar – I’m a very sociable person and I really enjoy bringing people together.’
The plan for the café was to create a space that was welcoming and relaxed. The space is airy, adorned with foliage, and makes for an extremely relaxing place to spend an hour or four.
The menu features a selection of brunch staples – substantial fry-ups, eggs ‘your way’ on sourdough, and chunky portobello mushrooms and smashed avocado sandwiches. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the vegan breakfast was probably one of the best we’ve had.
The vegan sausages are flavourful and filling and accompanied by a medley of breakfast veggies: kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado with chilli and grilled tomatoes. Although the portions are incredibly generous, it’s definitely worth getting the add-on scrambled tofu.
For those who struggle to get going before 11am, the lunch menu is just as tempting and features freshly made salads and soups which change weekly, grilled halloumi wraps and a vegan ‘BLT’ made from BBQ-glazed butternut squash which looks so good. Definitely one to try next time.
One of the café’s aims is to be as sustainable and environmentally-friendly as possible. The impact of all aspects of their operations are considered; everything from the drink bottles to the café furniture, to who they choose as their waste removal, are sustainable suppliers. This ethos also extends to the food, where as many ingredients as possible are sourced from local producers and smaller brands, such as The Roasting Shed Coffee and JARR Kombucha.
While they’ve already dipped their toes into events hosting – with some fun-filled screenings of the Euros over the summer – Bailey-Williams has got big plans for the future of the café.
‘I’d really like to do more events like supper clubs and book groups. The community has responded really well to the café and we get different people coming in all the time as well as regulars,’ she says.
It’s a rare treat to visit a café that involves and connects the community to the extent that The Breakhouse Café does. Their social channels are worth following too, as they are frequently announcing new food, events or collaborations.
This month marks their first birthday, and it’s clear they certainly have a lot to celebrate.
If you enjoyed this, take a look at our review of Targa Green Café
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