FOOD & DRINK

NEW STUFF ALERT! Applecart Arts at Harold Road Community Centre, Upton Park

You may have heard about Applecart arts, a knight in shining armour who rode in to save Harold Road Community Centre from closure earlier this year? Ok, you just did… Well, last weekend we took a Sunday stroll up Green Street to check out the newest Upton Park cafe (***NEW CAFE ALERT*** OMG OMG) and take in the arty vibes.

So, the low-down:- Applecart arts took over Harold Road Community Centre (previously run by a local Baptist church who had run out of funds to keep the doors open) in Feb 2017, and are working on plans that include the afore mentioned Cafe, a theatre space, art studios, and rehearsal space.

So, what the heck is AppleCart Arts? AppleCart started back in 2008 as a storytelling company. Home was above a pub in Whitechapel, and then in Bow, before they saw sense and headed to the Far East {Londons}, and their band of merry men have been delivering community theatre, films, documentaries, and general all round art support ever since. Basically they are creative AND nice AND they believe in community support and community spirit. #yay #allroundgoodeggs

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A beautiful building and a cosy cafe space.

The building itself is huge and beautiful. We are sure someone could tell us something about the architecture, but that not being our specialist subject, we won’t try. Suffice to say, it’s old-ish, and pretty to look at – there is some stained glass and that (email us if you know it is 1930’s, Ottoman empire or monolithic or something and we’ll update the post!). The website tells us that inside there is space for community use or arts hire, but we only saw the cafe: a small cosy space on the side of the main building which (in our humble opinion) is perfect for whiling away the bank holiday over a flat white or a herbal tea. So that is exactly what we did.

With bare timber walls, naked light bulbs and polished concrete floors, Applecart cafe is everything you might want for your Saturday morning coffee fix. They do takeaway if you are in a rush,  and they offer free wifi if you have time to stay a while.

There is a bit of outdoor space too, all set up with some rustic pallet furniture and the early makings of some wildflowers in the raised beds. It is still a work in progress (c’mon, they only opened in Feb) but with the support of a local artist, they have been decorating the outside with glass and ceramic wall installations making it feel immediately welcoming and friendly as you walk in – already a part of the community.

A reasonably priced flat white means you’ve got change for a ‘Suspended Coffee’

For those East Hammers who are a) normal people or b) fear the hipster invasion leading to overpriced coffee, don’t worry – Applecart cafe is thus far, reasonably priced (cheaper than Costa folks, and a darn sight more friendly) and thoroughly humble.

You will love it, and if you do come across a stray hipster in there enjoying a frappe-lappe-mocha-chino, don’t judge them or call them names. Hipsters are people too, and the coffee is good here. No literally – it’s tasty good and spiritually good! Community spirit is 100% in the air with the Suspended Coffee program (you buy an extra coffee and it is ‘banked’ to be given to someone in need at a later date).

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Awesome cakes and light lunches

The cakes were deliciously delicious – we had a slice of Choc Chip Loaf and a Lemon Drizzle and seriously considered ordering a second slice (no one was watching, and it was bank holiday after all!). If savoury is more your thing, they have recently started offering light lunch materials (sourdough toast, toasties and muffins with a few salads). We didn’t sample them this time, but if the cakes are anything to go by, you will not be disappointed. Another big bonus point is their full 5 star hygiene rating.

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself down there!

The only thing it was really missing was customers. It was very quiet and is such a lovely space that we urge you not to leave it undiscovered for too long, if you want it to stay open. Their mantra is ‘a creative hub that celebrates the community it serves’, so lets serve them (by visiting often) while they serve us (coffee).

If the Cafe space is a measure of things to come, then we can’t wait for the first theatrical debut – lets get this show on the road (wait, on stage, not on the road please, we want to keep it in East Ham!).

The deets:

What: A rustic industrial chic cafe in Upton Park.

Opening hours:

Opening hours are variable so please make sure you check the facebook page, but at the time of writing, these are the hours listed:-

Mon: 10.30 – 6pm

Tues: 10.30 – 6pm

Wed: 10.30am – 14.30pm,

Thurs: 10.30am – 14.30pm

Fri: 10.30am – 6pm

Sat: 11am – 5pm

Sunday – closed

Bank hols: 11am – 5pm

Where:  170 Harold Rd, London E13 0SE

£££: Tea £2.00, Coffee from £2.20, Cakes & Pastries £2-£3, Lunch & snacks £2.00 – £6.00.

Linky: Applecartarts.com, or follow them on Instagram: @applecartcafe, FB: @applecartartscafe, and Twitter: @applecartlive.

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