Nipping across the Channel for a French cafe experience is a bit of a schlep, so we'll just stick to Madeleine's in Clapham. You may not see him, but in the kitchen there's a pastry chef from France, firing out the best cakes and pastries all day - including gluten-free goodies. If you give him a couple of days notice, he can even custom bake you cakes for any occasion. Total gent. There's fresh onion soup every day (obviously), and different daily special stews. The coffee here is good, but the teas are the MVP – all lined up on the counter in glass jars. Blackcurrant hibiscus, flowering osmanthus... whatever you fancy.
You might also be interested in...
Decent coffee, great bread from Bread by Bike, and all kinds of sweet and savoury treats, this iddy-biddy corner cafe is the perfect place to come for a quiet pit-stop. It's named after the library and bookshop, owned by an Albert Crick, that was on the site way back in the 1940s. The current owners have charmingly held on to tradition by encouraging people to bring and borrow books. Isn't that sweet. Open from 8am in the week, they keep commuter folk happy with coffee from Dark Arts, while those visiting later in the day are catered for with a fine selection of brunchy goods - poached eggs and avo', and an infamously hunky bacon butty. Whenever you decide to come down, you're in for an session of seriously cosy lounging.
Sourcing all produce locally, this homely all-day cafe is all about keeping things in the London family. There'll be beans from Workshop Coffee, scrummy pastries from The Little Pedlar and fresh juices using seasonal fruit from New Covent Garden Market. For a hearty breakfast, the smashed avocado, ricotta and garden herbs on sourdough will sort you right out. Open until 2am at the weekend, thank god there's not just coffee and eggs on their menu: the biodynamic and natural wines plus craft beers will be seeing you through to the early hours.
Wild and Wood
Voted London’s best coffee shop of the year back in 2014, Wild Wood coffee is all about jiving 50s music, wood panelling, church pews and expertly brewed Monmouth coffee alongside gorgeous juices hailing from Devon orchards. This cosy little relaxation haven is everything a coffee joint should be – tranquil, indulgent and hella chilled.
This spot on the Clapham-Battersea border is a sweet, family-run cafe serving Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes. Inside it's welcoming and cosy and on the menu are treats like shakshuka (baked eggs), pulled pork and chilli apple quesadillas, pancakes and more. Come for a reasonably priced lunch or brunch, or pop by for a slice of cake and a coffee.