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The Gallery Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 31 reviews )
Contact 020-89802092

21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green (at /St Margaret's House), East London, England, E2 9PL

Cafe situated near the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and is a social enterprise of St. Margaret's House. Offers breakfast, juices, sandwiches, and pizza (has vegan cheese). Hosts a program of live events, art exhibition, live music nights, film screenings, and other events. Actively eco-friendly regarding in particular waste and choice of local suppliers. Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm, Sat 9:00am-8:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Pizza, Juice bar, Take-out, British, English

Reviews (31)

First Review by Jemima

Great cafe with good food and garden - Edit

Really nice place, good selection of mostly vegan food including the burger I had which was really filling and really healthy with a good sized portion of fries. The place has an amazing garden with seating at the back too.

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The Taste Modern - Edit

But actually not that modern, quite a traditional vegan selection really. The burger was great; the tempeh was pretty good. Nice setting, good outdoor seating, well worth a visit.


Pros: nice seating area, that burger, good vegan range

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Great discovery! - Edit

First the place is wonderful, with a little terrasse and especially nice seating in the light veranda area. And then the vegan choices! Amazing! it was my 3 last days in London, with a friend, and we went for breakfast there on all 3. I had the healthy superbowl, oats, grains, fruit, delicious hemp milk, and also avocado on toast with pesto + tomato, just great. Big portions! We also tried some juices (perfect!) and the hemp milk cappuccinos (id!).

The staff is super friendly too.

Pros: Nice space, Delicious vegan options, Friendly staff

Cons: Closes a bit early (8, kitchen at 7.30 I think)

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Decline and Fall of the Gallery Café - Edit

This place used to be so good. Great, in fact. Years ago it was great, and held a good consistent quality. In the summer of 2015 it improved exponentially from what was already good to something truly beautiful. It was the best place to eat in east London. Beautiful food, jacket potatoes, pizzas, falafel wraps, a huge range of choices, fresh juices mixed whatever way you want it. Regularly rotating curries, multiple specials. then something happened. I don't know what. But it was almost as though they stopped trying. The first sign was the vegan cheese. Changing from lovely VBites stuff (I think) to horrible plastic. Then options started to disappear from the menu. The quality of food itself dropped noticeably. It kept getting worse and worse until it was a shell of its former self. The building is lovely. But everything else has rotted away. It's a big shame. A profound loss.

Pros: The old falafel wrap with all the sauces, Jacket potatoes with vegan cheese, Used to be beautiful

Cons: They don't makethe falafel wrap any more, No more jacket potatoes and cheese, Is now pathetic

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Disappointing - Edit

I've been to The Gallery Cafe a few times as it's near me and consistently find it disappointing. Their burger is bland and they often don't bother to provide vegan dessert options. The last time I went there, however, was the last straw. I ordered the daily special (a rice and bean dish, served with bread) and it came out a mound of white rice with a bit of very bland guacamole on the side (no veg, beans or bread). I ate it without complaining, but then noticed the table next to me got an order that looked suspiciously like what I had ordered - but what I had actually ordered (with the bread and beans), not what I got. When I asked the waitress about that she just shrugged and said "oh yeah, the kitchen got confused and didn't understand what the daily special was". So they had just served me some random slop (honestly in what world is white rice and mushed up avocado a meal??) No apology or offer of a refund or anything. I won't be going back and can't recommend after that experience.

Pros: Nice atmosphere, Outdoor seating

Cons: Bad food, Poor service

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good breakfasts and burgers - Edit

We've been to the gallery cafe a lot, even to celebrate birthdays because we love the relaxed atmosphere.
The burgers & pizzas are lovely, I wish they did gluten free options (even if it cost a bit more) as this has drastically cut down my options here.
We went there for breakfast today. Breakfast was pretty expensive, but very nice. It was nice a quiet at 9am ish and the staff were very friendly and polite. They were able to adapt the breakfast to make gluten free (extras instead of the bread and sauages).
[edit by staff- see ToS]

They've started selling 'Ms Cupcake' cupcakes, which is nice! :)

It can get pretty busy- a lot of table get used up by people using the space as an office/ meeting room. I noticed that they had 'laptop free' signs for the tables now, so I think this is something they're managing.

Overall, I'd recommend, particularly I you don't have any issues with gluten and don't mind a veggie rather than exclusively vegan space.

Pros: relaxed atmosphere , good range of vegan options , themed nights- 'fish' &chips etc

Cons: too many 'mobile office' types , has been rude staff in the past

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Good Cafe - Edit

Some nice sandwiches, good burritos, burgers, pizzas, sausage and mash. Lots of cup cakes and brownies. Everything is vegan. The food is tasty, the portions are OK. Its a bit expensive.

It can get really busy you might have to wait a while. Also some food is only available after certain times like the pizzas, so the menu can seem a bit small after breakfast finishes and pizza hasn't started.

Nice environment.

Pros: tasty food, all vegan

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Convenient, tasty, but overpriced. - Edit

I can't complain about the quality of the food, it's great - however I'm not so sure about their prices, especially as this is in Bethnal Green, a deprived part of the East End.

Veganism is the future; it has to be for the sake of the animals and the planet, and while restaurants like this price out the local working class East Londoners the veganism will always seem as an elitist option.

It's not about the people or the cliques, veganism is about the animals and should be accessible for everyone - so I urge you to think of this when setting your prices!

Pros: Tasty food, Friendly staff, Nice location

Cons: Expensive, Not vegan, A product of gentrified East London

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Good food, decent prices, good atmosphere - Edit

Gallery Cafe' is a good, laid back option in East London, one of those places which you can visit even if you are not veggie, for tea and cake. But if you are veggie, then there is loads to draw you here: decent prices, good selection, even just the $4 sandwiches for a quick bite. Some of the options are a bit too rich for the type of vegan/veggie which is health conscious, and perhaps not as extra ordinary as the rich ingredients could really make it, but it is still a good place to visit if you are in the area.

Pros: Good food at decent prices, Cool environment, not too green!, Laid-back environment suited to non-vegs

Cons: Many are greasy options, Closes early, so not ideal for dinner

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Great burgers, cheap prices - Edit

Went here with my vegan partner. Vegan burgers were fantastic, and at less than £8 were the most expensive thing on the menu. They also have some themed nights - american diner night every tuesday (vegan chilli dogs etc), and tofish and chips on the last thursday of every month. Would highly recommend!

Pros: Great food, Relaxed atmosphere, Cheap

Cons: Slightly grumpy staff, Could be comfier

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An absolute must! - Edit

I must confess that I eat here on average three times a week. The food is always very well presented and tastes great. It caters for the full spectrum of tastes from fast food to soups and salads and from western dishes to middle eastern. The traditional English/American/Italian dishes are my favourite, especially the Sausage & Mash every friday! Staff are beyond lovely and the prices are very reasonable, especially for the portion sizes.
There is always a great selection of cakes and sweet treats too.
The atmosphere is very relax and the decor [as the name suggests] is arty!

Pros: Variety of v.good dishes, Generous portions, Great service

Cons: Breakfast finishes at 12 on weekdays, They offer dairy cheese/milk too

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one of my fav places in east london - Edit

I have been to the gallery café several times now and it was always a lovely experience. I manly went there to work on my portfolio and the atmosphere was always super friendly and cosy. they offer free wifi which is great and the staff is super friendly too. I tried their burger and a vegan pizza both were delicious and their cupcakes are all vegan which is great. I would come back here anytime again!

Pros: lots of vegan food, prices, friendly atmosphere

Cons: can be a little chilly inside during winter due to

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lovely place - Edit

Had a full English breakfast, I really enjoyed it the sausages were delicious. Freshly squeezed orange juice was lovely too.

I really liked the atmosphere in here and the staff were friendly. Will hopefully go back and try the pizza at some point.

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Great when its great but..... - Edit

The Gallery cafe is a bit of a hit and miss affair. Firstly you must check the calender to see if the are serving food or have an event on instead, Secondly I have often found the menu to be severely reduced and the options very limited due to stock running out. For instance they do good pizza's but twice in a row when I visited they had no fake meat (ham usually) topping option as it had sold out, that's just incompetent!

Otherwise the place is a nice friendly light space. If the weather allows there is a garden to use out back and there are plenty of big tables for large groups. Nothing really stands out from the menu which is 70% vegan besides the pizzas which when done right are great!

Pros: Vegan pizza's, Close to tube stop, Fair price

Cons: Unreliable kitchen supply, Often closed for events

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great breakfast place - Edit

Love this place, I've been here twice now and I find it great. Have recommended friends to go here and they were also very happy. Good for breakfast, I haven't tried the lunch.

Pros: pancakes

Cons: not everything is vegan :(

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Beautiful space/Average food - Edit

I am local to this café so have been there regularly. Each time I say to myself "I don't think I will eat there again". The café space is really open and lively and inviting - a perfect place to hang out.

In the evenings I have been there three times to find that they have run out of everything but one or two things. The Vegan burger and chips is average. A little dry and spongey. The falafel is similar. The specials have mostly been plain and unimaginative and the breakfast was really under seasoned and bland. Agree with the comments about the scrambled tofu seriously lacking. I have been told one evening I was there that the kitchen closes at 8pm on weeknights which feels really early.

They do put on lots of really affordable and accessible community events - such as film screenings, poetry nights, live music - and I believe they are not for profit (connected to St Margaret's house charity) which is really special.

It is a nice place - the staff are friendly enough and it is a really amazing part of London. But they really need to improve their food. Prices are pretty standard for London it's not super expensive. If someone can find me a Vegan burger and chips for less than £7.50 then please do!

Updated from previous review on Monday December 09, 2013

Pros: Beautiful atmosphere, Great part of town, Not for profit charity

Cons: average food , run out of options, kitchen closes too early

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Handy little cafe if you're in the area - Edit

Nice little cafe - gets busy so you have to share tables generally. The bulk of the food is vegan - we had a vegan burger and a breakfast. Friendly staff, freshly prepared food and good range of vegan options. Vegan brownies were amazing. Not the most exciting range - sandwiches, burgers, baked potatoes etc but nicely done and freshly prepared and a handy little spot if you're in East London.

Pros: Friendly staff , Good vegan range , Freshly prepared food

Cons: Fairly small , Could clear away tables more

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Amazing Food - Edit

I love the burgers and pizza at this place! Makes me hungry just thinking about them. The cafe itself is relaxing, open and bright.

One thing that annoys me is the rules. WHY can't I have a pizza until 2pm? I want it NOW! And maybe I want breakfast at 12pm!

Other than that, great. Great!

Pros: Food, oh it's so good, lovely atmosphere

Cons: The rules.

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I'm in love with this place - Edit

Every time I visit London, I always visit this place. It's a combination of the following things that makes it one of my favourite places:

- There are lots of different dishes for all moods and times of day and it is all delicious
- They have a great range of sweets which are all vegan excluding the muffins, including various cakes, cupcakes, brownies and flapjacks. Some are also gluten free
- The atmosphere is very homely
- It is in a part of London I like
- All profits go to the charity which runs the cafe, which gets invested into community projects

I would even go as far as to say that this place is a must if you are visiting London!

Pros: Delicious food at fair prices, Homely atmosphere, Wide variety of choice

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tasty vegan margherita - Edit

Came here with my friend. I ordered a vegan pizza which (apart from what looked suspiciously like a fingerprint!) was nice. My friend had burger and chips which she enjoyed. I robbed some of her chips which were tasty. I'd go again if I was in the area.

Pros: tasty vegan pizza

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OK sure, why not - Edit

This is a cute little place that I came across by accident while staying with some friends. We all ordered the vegan breakfast, which was a big plate of food with all the usual breakfast stuff. Hooray, except the scrambled tofu was really rather nauseating :( Kinda wet and... resembling vomit, if I'm honest! The taste was fine but the look/consistency rather offputting. Fingers crossed we just caught them on a bad tofu day?

By the time we'd eaten our breakfasts, we were too full to try anything else, sadly -- the cakes looked delicious! They have a really cool space, though -- we sat out on the little terrace at the front, but inside also looked really cool. The place was busy but we were served really fast, which is great -- there seemed to be lots of staff around and they're obviously pretty efficient!

I guess I'd agree with other reviewers that it also seemed a little pricey. However, I may not be the best judge, as I am not a London native and therefore EVERYTHING seems mega expensive...

Overall, I was happy to have chanced upon this place and would probably go back as I often stay with friends in the area. However, if I were elsewhere in London I might not necessarily make the effort to take the tube all the way here. Nice if you're passing, but not the most special vegan spot in London.

Pros: Fast service, Cool space, Big portions

Cons: Icky tofu, sorry guys!, Maybe a bit £££?

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Reviewer Avatar

Best Vegan Pizza EVER! - Edit

I visit the Gallery Cafe as often as I can, it does the best vegan stone baked pizzas of all time. The cafe is always busy and atmosphere is buzzing.
I have been to a few gigs at the Gallery cafe which were especially nice in the summer as they open the back patio doors and have access to a secret garden.
All of the 'Specials' on the menu are also vegan and I heard that they have stopped selling any egg produce so they are now 95% vegan which is great news.
I would like to see a bigger range on the breakfast menu but for vegan in East London it is the best place try.

Pros: Pizzas, Atmosphere, Vegan Menu

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Recent visit - Edit

Nice place and always seems busy, but let down by basic customer care.
I took a jug of water to the table and before I could fill the glasses, it was swiftly removed by the waiter and returned to the counter, explaining that the jugs should not be removed.
The glasses smelt, toilet cleanliness was poor, and when our food came out the staff looked at each other, laughed, and returned the food to the kitchen.
The food was ok, but as per earlier comments - £7.50 for vegan burger/chips is a bit steep

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Could be better - Edit

I went here for lunch with some friends this last Tuesday. The space itself is really nice and they have an interesting events calendar with loads going on (film, live music, book launches etc.) The menu is almost totally vegan which makes you wonder why they don't just take the plunge? We all had the vegan burger with vegan cheese which was ok but nothing special really. I have to agree with an earlier review that for East London it's a bit on the pricey side (maybe 2 carrots would be more accurate). With a little more effort this place could be really something special and is worth the visit if in the area.

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Decent food, good vegan mains but not cheap - Edit

We went here for lunch and was impressed with how popular the place seems to be. There was a good choice of mains, most which seemed to be vegan and also a good selection of takeaway sandwiches/bagels which were also mostly labelled 'vegan'. We had a vegan burger with chips (you get the option of having vegan or veggie cheese on it) and it was very tasty and a good size. It did, however, cost very nearly £20 for two burgers and chips and a couple of soft drinks so, considering this was Bethnal Green not the 'West End', we did think this quite expensive. However, like I said, the place was very busy so obviously people are quite happy to pay it. We didn't have any dessert and though there were a good selection of cakes on the counter none were labelled vegan and, to be honest, I was a little concerned that they were all uncovered which seemed rather unhygenic to me so I didn't bother to find out. I must also say the toilets were a little scruffy and smelly too. Overall, despite the food being good I don't think I would go back here again unless I was in the area, not worth making a special trip for.

Pros: Good Vegan Mains, Vegan takeaway, Friendly atmosphere

Cons: Not cheap, Uncovered cakes, Scruffy toilets

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ok - but not all that - Edit

it said several signs that everything would be vegan, except for the selections labeled with a "v" (they would only be vegetarian), but i found no vs on the menu at all, and it kind of seems they forgot to write them. i was happy finding that the coleslaw didn't have a v on it, so i ordered that as a side order. i also ordered a breakfast plate and even though i specified "vegan" noone thought to tell me that the coleslaw wasn't vegan, until serving it. also i got my breakfast plate with a small package of dairy butter, which didn't exactly increase my trust.

the breakfast was not the best i've had - the freshpressed orange juice was great though! and we didn't have to wait long before we got our food, despite the place was full. my boyfriend had the burger option, which was basically a burger made of falafel. there should have been some kind of sauce on it, because it was way too dry.

we both got very full and didn't get a chance to taste the deserts. if we're in the neighbourhood again, we might give the soup and deserts a chance.

Pros: fast service, cozy place, vegan deserts

Cons: not that great food, didn't get info on non-vegan stuff

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Non Vegetarian

  Contributions +4

A humble cafe with a huge sense of community! - Edit

The Gallery Cafe is a charity run cafe that serves up incredibly tasty and mighty portions of vegetarian and vegan food.

It is fast becoming a popular music venue and runs some very interesting groups and clubs for the local community.

There have been some incredibly talented musicians play with FREE Live music happening every Wednesday and Friday. There are various other things happening at the cafe like a knitting club where you can learn to knit or teach others what you know and the poets corner with recitals of rehearsed or original poems.

The cafe is an excellent place to go to during the day if you want somewhere quiet to do some work with free WIFI and the selection of teas, coffees and fruit juices is not to be sniffed at. The staff are warm and friendly and the price of the food and drink is very reasonable and being a charity run cafe you know that your contributing to the 30 or so charities that are housed within St. Margaret's settlement.

If your ever stuck for what to do on a Friday night, I Highly recommend that you check out the Free Fridays at the cafe where you can see some of the finest talent on London's Acoustic and electronic music scene. There is a nice selection of bottled beers and ales, and wines and if you like you can also have a game of scrabble or dominoes.

There is so much going on at this humble cafe that I fear I could ramble on for some time.

The Gallery cafe also takes part in Time Out's First Thursdays, when it opens its doors late for a chance to see amazing art, culture and events after hours. Every month you can see a new art installation from local artists.

They are very on the ball with the promotion of the events that take place within the settlement and you can find literature in the cafe on everything that is happening there! This is a great little Cafe with a huge community vibe and a hub that I am proud to be a part of.

OK so my last rambling "CAKES" You absolutely must try the cakes! Siobhan Makes Mouth watering cakes!

Cons: Limited Wheelchair Access

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The best cafe in London! - Edit

The Gallery Cafe is a real gem of a cafe, situated 2 minutes walk from Bethnal Green Station. It serves fantastic veggie and vegan food, and in huge portions at very affordable prices. The staff are extremely friendly and the service is quick, especially considering how busy the cafe can get at lunchtimes and weekends. The food is really tasty, and will appeal to veggies and non-veggies alike. They have a special and a soup which change daily, as well as all day breakfasts served at the weekends.

The cafe runs a full program of events, most of which are also free. They have live music every Wednesday and Friday evenings featuring lots of talented up and coming musicians, as well as a regular poetry night and a knitting club. They also have one off events run by external promoters and record labels.

There is a great selection of wines and beers, plus hot drinks are served 'til close during live music nights, making it the perfect place to be on a Friday night if you're not too keen a drinker, as well as being great if you are!

There is free wi-fi, boardgames, a good selection of newspapers, books and magazines and loads of vegan cakes too. There is also the obligatory big sofa as well a lovely bright conservatory area that looks out onto a beautiful garden.

The Gallery Cafe is without a doubt my favourite place in London, as well as being one of the most interesting cafe's I've come across. There's always something going on and everyone is really welcoming and friendly. It's highly recommended as a real community hub and somewhere you can really get involved in.

Pros: Friendly Staff, Vegan Cakes, Great Soup!

Cons: No vegan honey alternative , Not many wheat/bread free options

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Decent place to chill in Bethnal Green - Edit

From Bethnal Green Station exit get to the side with the park on it and go to Old Ford Rd. This is parallel to Roman Rd which is next to the station exit. It is near the beginning of OF Rd on the left as you go down it.
There is some outside seating and to go in you walk down a couple of steps to the inside of the cafe. Got there on a warm day when I had been pounding the pavement, when I went in it was like a moderate oven in there - hotter than outside. The back of the cafe is glass windows looking on to a garden. I really wanted to be able to walk out there and sit in the fresh air and greenery but there was no way out. It is a relaxed vibe with a sofa in the front and wooden tables to sit at. Artwork hangs on the walls.
At four pm on a Saturday there were pairs of people and some singles there. There were a few different newspapers to read.

I was in search of an all day breakfast. There was none to be found including at this place - hello, people, get with the program! I asked them if they could do a fry up for me, but both waitress and kitchen were totally inflexible and I had to stick to the set menu. My stomach was totally shriveled and cramping by this stage so I chose the roast. The weekend menu is different to the weekday menu. It is general cafe fare - some ciabatta, pasta dishes, salads.
The roast was a generous plate of bean/ pulse loaf with gravy (onion/ creamy type) and roast vegetables. The loaf was moist enough and had the right amount of salt in it, gravy was creamy type with onion in it and complimented it well and the vegetables were done well.
Only as I got to the end did I find a hair on one of the potatoes..
Beverages include different teas and a few juices. I had apricot juice which was from a carton. The server added ice-cubes which was good.
Cakes were in a cabinet on the counter however my stomach was too distended from the roast to try any.

Aside from complete inflexibility when it came to altering orders, service was friendly enough.

At well under ten pounds it was good value.

This was a pretty good place except for the inflexible staff and hair in food.. Due to the latter it has to be a three.

Pros: Tasty food, generous portions, good location handy but tucked away, Relaxed place for chilling

Cons: Temperature hot on day I went, Hygiene, maybe it was a one off prob

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