1 Canvas & Cream
Canvas & Cream is a creative and artistic hub that also comprises a cafe and restaurant – as well as a therapy room, art gallery and artist studios. The lovely surrounds offer up some fabulous brunches, from eggs Benedict to pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, the classic full English and even healthy ‘sunshine breakfasts’ such as watermelon, feta, baby kale, mint and lime. There are even options for under 11’s, like beans on toast.
18 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HF; 020 8699 9589; canvasandcream.com
2 St David Coffee House
Craft coffee – it’s a thing. Bean aficionados should head for St David Coffee House, where the owners – actress Sian Polhill-Thomas and her friends Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead (aka the 2 Lovely Gays) – serve up Square Mile coffee alongside a rotational filter. As well as their delicious breakfasts like poached eggs, avocado and bacon on toast, plus their locally homemade cakes, they also host regular pop-up evenings by the likes of Van Dough (wood-fired pizzas) and Nyonya London (South East Asian laksas).
5 David Road, Forest Hill SE23 3EP; stdavidcoffeehouse.co.uk
3 The Archie Parker
The Archie Parker is essentially all about good sandwiches, great coffee and a laid-back 60s/70s vibe. When passing recently, the sandwich special was pulled pork with homemade coleslaw and pickles on ciabatta. Yum. Or perhaps the Reubenesque will tempt – pastrami, emmenthal, gherkins, sauerkraut and mustard mayo, served on freshly baked Blackbird Bakery Sourdough. Or perhaps you’d prefer a jolly crumpet with chilly chocolate spread? The coffee is by Brockley-based Dark Fluid.
55a Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HN; 020 8699 4818; thearchieparker.com
4 The Montage
Cafés in Forest Hill really like to be more than just cafes. The Montage is also a vintage shop – chock full of vintage chairs, cases, clocks, quirky lamps and all sorts of junk shop finds – and art gallery with cracking Italian coffee (both soy and almond milk are on offer). There are several gluten/dairy and sugar-free options when it comes to their homemade cakes, as well as tasty organic savoury options. Oh and local author, Jessie Burton, loves it.
33 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HN; 020 7207 9890; themontage.co.uk
5 The Teapot
They like their tea at The Teapot, but freshly ground coffee is, of course, also on the menu – iced coffee, even, if it’s warm out. Call in for a breakfast Panini, lunch ciabatta, afternoon tea with homemade cake (classics like Victoria sponge, red velvet cupcakes, brownies and muffins) or anything in between. There’s also a deli-style selection of antipasti, salads, charcuterie, cheeses and pickles.
56 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HF; 020 8699 2829
6 Aga’s Little Deli
Aga’s Little Deli is more deli than cafe, but this place has is packed with delicious, fresh produce, from vegan crisps to posh popcorn and Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeses and sourdough and rye bread loafs from Brickhouse Bakery. The coffee is by Monmouth and the amazing cookies by The Cinnamon Tree Bakery in Peckham (do try their white chocolate and sea salt cookies). Fab sandwiches and salads are on the lunch menu and do look out for their special events like chocolate, cheese and wine tasting and Raclette nights.
49 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HN
7 The Gym Café & Pizzeria
Why is a gym not a gym? When it’s a cafe, bar and pizzeria! Open for breakfast, lunch and diner, The Gym Cafe will see you right whether you’re after a hangover-fixing full English (the weekend mega-breakfast deal gives you two rashers of bacon, two sausages, two eggs, two hash browns, two slices of toast, tomatoes, mushrooms beans and chips, along with a tea of coffee, for just £7), a grab-n-go sarnie or a beer and a pizza come the evening.
103 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HT
8 Big Breakfast Café
The Big Breakfast Café celebrates its 35th anniversary this year – quite an achievement. Just goes to show how hard it is to beat a full English, which this place serves up with gusto. There are nine all-day breakfast options, from the Carbohydrate Boost version of the full English, served with chips or bubble and squeak, to the Mega Breakfast for Bodybuilders Only and the No Meat Treat. Or you can build you own breakfast. There are plenty of traditional lunch dishes too, from roasts, meat pies and casseroles to fish and chips.
27 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HN; 020 8699 1280; thebigbreakfast.biz