The Gallery Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 39 reviews )
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+44-2089802092
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21 Old Ford Rd, 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. Open Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm, Sat 9:00am-8:00pm, Sun 9:00am-7:00pm.

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

Reviews (39)

First Review by Jemima

oasis - Edit

Fabulous breakfast. Total lifesaver and a nice cup of tea too . We'll be back.

Pros: Great breakfast , outdoor seating

Cons: a wee bit pricey but it's London.

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One of the best cafes in London - Edit

Wonderful place, fantastic garden, great vegan options. Only wish it was open slightly later in the week so I could come more often.

Pros: Great vegan options

Cons: Closes early in the week.

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Great all-round - Edit

My favourite local place. Such a nice atmosphere and a great selection, with some staples and then a rotating menu. Great for breakfasts too!

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Too Basic - Edit

Waiting for almost 40 minutes for my salad, I was hoping for something a bit special. When some leaves and veg were served in a bowl with absolutely no dressing I was disappointed. The cauliflower had some spices on, which were the highlight of the meal. But the rest was so boring - plain salad and cold veg! I'm taken back by the £8 price. The serving was thankfully generous, but wish I had of picked up a salad pot from Tesco.

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My local cafe - Edit

This is my preferred spot to work in my neighborhood because of the size of the place and the friendly atmosphere. The almond matcha latte is delicious! I have only eaten here twice. The soup and bread were delightful. I didn't love the tempeh wrap--it was ok, but didn't have much flavor. I'd get it again, but I'd rather explore the other options on the menu!

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Lovely spot - Edit

Very nice cafe, reasonably priced with a good atmosphere. Went here with a friend on a study break and stayed for a few hours without feeling rushed. Can imagine it to be even nicer in summer when the garden is open!

Pros: Nice location, clean with array of wall art, Breastfeeding friendly , Large portions

Cons: Not completely vegan , Can be busy, slightly cramped

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Hearty Food, Good Vegan Options - Edit

Veggie cafe with good vegan options. I went at lunchtime and tried their classic vegan burger with chips, came with side salad, was very good, generous portions. Steady stream of people while I was there.

Pros: Hearty vegan food, Friendly staff, Vegan cakes

Cons: Can get busy, Needs a few more vegan dessert options

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The best hangover breakfast - Edit

Vegan full English breakfast is perfect after a big night, a nice big warm plate of comfort food!

Very chilled out spot with lots of space, friendly staff and very reasonable prices

Pros: Calm, big space, Full English breakfast, Good price

Cons: Not a huge menu selection

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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.

FM

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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Happy to visit again - Edit

Ran into this place on my app and loved it! a lot of variety, nice portions and delicious!

Pros: Nice vibe, Reasonable prices, Good service

Cons: not 100% vegan I guess

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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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Nice space, rude staff - Edit

The cafe itself is very cute, with lots of outdoor space. However, the waitress was rude and the food bland.

Pros: Nice space

Cons: Rude staff, Tastleless food

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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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