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.