Sweeney's Cafe, Ewhurst Road


Patrick1971 is a long-time member of the Brockley Central community and he's now stepped up to the plate with his own article - a review of Sweeney's Cafe. Enjoy:

Sweeney's Cafe is the latest addition to the Ewhurst Road parade of shops, featured recently on Brockley Central. It's been open for a few weeks now, serving breakfasts and lunch to a keen crowd of south Brockleyites. During the period prior to opening, locals weren't quite sure what was coming. Was it going to be another greasy spoon,or a more of a lunch and afternoon cafe? The answer is, it's both.

You enter into a light, open space, with attractive, solid wooden tables and the daily papers available to read with your breakfast.There are three standard breakfasts available, priced from £3.95 to £5.95. Although this may seem a smaller range than usual, you can of course mix and match as you please with the large extras menu. One of the big successes, though, has been the traditional pie and mash.

Owner Bill Walsh says:

"Pie and mash is what London was built on.It's something people will travel a long way for, and it's becoming harder and harder to get hold of. It's possible to feed a family off our healthily here for lunch for under £10."

The pie & mash is certainly proving popular; during my half-hour visit no fewer than four families came in to pick up an order, along with a number of diners eating in.

Bill is passionate about making Sweeney's Cafe a hub of the community. He and his business partner John have a background in upmarket mass catering; they've both worked at Michelin-starred establishments and also at venues such as Lord's. They became disillusioned with the conveyor-belt style of modern food production, and were keen to get back to real cooking. A friend mentioned to them that a location in Brockley was becoming available, and it quickly appealed.

"We were looking for somewhere with a community feel, where we could get good,reliable local produce, and away from the main road so people could sit outside," Bill says. "I wanted to come back to south London; I grew up in Bermondsey. This place felt right immediately." All the produce at Sweeney's is locally sourced, with the meat coming from Peter James opposite. Bill has also given lectures in food technology and hygiene at local schools, and organised tastings and lunch sessions with the students.

Coming in the summer will be outdoor seating both at the front and in the new kitchen garden at the rear, an alcohol licence, and special events for the World Cup. "I want this to be a place the community can come to enjoy the World Cup without the atmosphere you often get at pubs," Bill says. Sweeney's is also keen to set up a gallery space; there is a whole wall available for local artists to show and sell their work. The venue can be hired on Sundays for small functions such as christenings or birthdays. Afternoon tea is also soon to be available, with locally produced cakes and biscuits, and hot fruit pies and artisan breads are imminent.

Sweeney's is a great new addition to a quiet area of south Brockley,and we hope it becomes as much of a destination as Peter James is already.
"I see Sweeney's as sitting between a transport caff and the Brockley Mess," Bill says. "It's somewhere where both sets of customers can feel comfortable and find something that suits them. Afternoon tea is also soon to be available, with freshly baked in house cakes and biscuits and hot fruit pies and artisan breads are imminent."

Opening hours are 0730 to 1630 Monday to Friday, 0800 to 1530 Saturday and 0900 to 1400 Sunday.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've only been a couple of times, but this place is on its way to becoming a post-late-night-out institution for breakfast. Service with a smile and already a proper community atmosphere - the owner seems to already know everyone that goes in there. It seems closer to a greasy spoon than the other end of the spectrum but that may just be because I've not yet tried it at other times of the day. Glad to have it in the area!

Bobbins said...

It's a lovely spot, with good food at great prices. The fact that I can stumble their in my jammies on a saturday or sunday morning is also a factor.

This place deserves to do well. Nice people, nice food, and near my house. Hurrah.

Deptford dame said...

Bill don't forget some of us need places to go to ESCAPE the World Cup....!

Anonymous said...

Blimey,how many Cafe's In brockley now.

brockleybiker said...

Do they support the local butcher opposite? My main problems with most cafes is the quality of the meat.

Anonymous said...

Read the article and then you'd find out!

Jason Page said...

great spot on the block. It's nice to have good food, sit down options, local flavor, espresso and that he supports local business (Peter James). Keep it up Bill Walsh!

Anonymous said...

Just peeked in on my way past - totally bare walls are a bit of a turn-off - are they intending to decorate it a bit more?

Given their credentials it sounds like the food will be great, but the "kerb appeal" is a bit limited at the moment.

Anonymous said...

This place sounds good, I'll have to pay a visit. Love pie and mash. Thanks for good piece highlighing it, only let down by a quote from 'Friends'.

drakefell debaser said...

Let's hope that Mrs Lovett doesn't make the pies eh.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely worth a visit. Pleasing breakfasts. With great meat from Pete over the road.

Tamsin said...

@ Anon 15.28 - bare walls for local artists to sell their paintings. And for somewhere basic to eat during the day minimalist is good - you don't want decoration that calls attention to itself.

@DD - are you in the show?

Josh Artist said...

Its really very good food very very good. I had duck at christmas simple tasty and the bonus hey houses have gone up £20,000 round here since the cafe oppened. Its about real people eating not people trying to be oh so film four trendy, lets not be Islington. We have our own very special identity round here which is about the community. The cafe is now at the centre... great

Anonymous said...

Whenever people say the 'community' and 'lets not be like Islington/Clapham/Blackheath/Shorditch*' I think of the citizens of Springfield gathering on Main Street with blazing torches.



* Delete as applicable

Anonymous said...

The Brockley community demonstrate against cheap white bread.

drakefell debaser said...

Tamsin, which show?

Tamsin said...

You referenced Sweeney Todd which the Telegraph Hill Festival is doing for the (oh dear) "Community" production this year.

(Sorry, Nick, starting my annual drip-feed of references to the Festival on your northern borders.)

drakefell debaser said...

ah, no not me.

Programs are done, will return the excess to you by the end of the week.

Anonymous said...

new cafe sweenys does a lovely breakfast with a great atmosphere. the chubby cheerful owner done me an eggs benedict even though it was not on the menu

Monkeyboy said...

Expect the owner will be delightly to be described as 'chubby'

I aim to be as sleak as an otter once my diet kicks in. I'm sworn of fied breakfasts for a few weeks.

Pete said...

I went and had a fry up there with my wife on Saturday. It was the first time I've been down to Ewhurst road and I was really pleased that we went.

The cafe was pretty good but the experience of shopping in Peter James was amazing! I can't believe more people don't rave about it on here. It is by far and away the best shop in the area (unless you're vegetarian) with easily the best service I've had in London.

HB said...

We recently had a family gathering and third birthday party at Sweeney's. There were 15 of us in total including 3 tots (who made a den under the table). Bill went out of his way to make it a fantastic party. He was happy dedicate a corner to play dough, paint,general mess(which took the pressure off the parents and allowed us to take advantage of the bottomless coffee). Even though our budget was very limited, the food looked and tasted fabulous. It was clear that a lot of thought and preparation had gone into the brunch (smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagels, muffins, pastries etc).
I would highly recommend Sweeneys as a very affordable, relaxed alternative to squashing 15 relatives into your front room.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to have a cafe that was more attractive to mums and kids - this is not it. I had a horrible 'wrap' which was supposed to was supposed to have guacamole in it but was just a bit of cheese and lettuce. This cafe appeals far more to men than women and there's already enough places like that in Brockley. I'm not alone in feeling disappointed by this place. Why can't we have something like the Blue Mountain Cafe instead? It would do a roaring trade.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Have you heard of Brockley Mess?

Anonymous said...

Or The Broca, or Toadsmouth.....

Anonymous said...

Had a pie and mash with some luminous green sauce, which I imagine was meant to be liquor - it was all dreadful!

Won't go back in a hurry.

loppy said...

Its closed down just recently. I don't think it was the right fit for the area. Anyone fancy opening a deli? There is market for a quality food - given the success of esteemed butcher Peter James...

mljay said...

NEW CAFE open - Hungry Horace. Serving "caff" food, but decor more upscale. Already frequented by local families.

Very friendly and willing new owners. Had Mothers day sunday lunch which was a decent enough roast.

They are still working out opening hours/ days (ie whether Sunday opening will be the norm).

Would be great if it survived, as a useful place round the corner.

mljay said...

Ooops - meant to say this replaces Sweeney's Cafe, Ewhurst Road.

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