krash japan

KURASHIKI CAFFS

LONDON REPORT from LONDON

from London

S&M
S&M
4-6 Essex Road London N1 8LN
T: +44 020 7359 5361 F: +44 020 7359 5363
http://www.sandmcafe.co.uk
Royal Cafe
Royal Cafe
114 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3AP
T & F: +44 020 7837 3190
Golden Fish Restaurant
Golden Fish Restaurant
102 Farringdon Road London EC1 3EA
T: +44 020 7837 3547
Clarks Pie & Mash
Clarks Pie & Mash
46 Exmouth Market London EC1 4QE
T: +44 020 7837 1974

  Londons cafe culture has been under assault over the last decade; the reason why? – US and European-style coffee houses and cafes. There is an old tradition in London and around the UK of the local cafe. A simple plainly adorned place to meet friends in the neighbourhood, stop and rest on a shopping trip, as a young teenager meet your new girl/boyfriend, or if you've been out very late dancing or partying a place to recover your senses in the early hours of the morning. They usually serve ‘traditional' working men's foods – basic uncomplicated meals, often fried food or meat-based + two vegetable variety dishes. All of them serve Tea (the UK's traditional drink) or coffee.
Around London and the UK, old-school cafes are under attack. This has been one of the outcomes of Globalisation. Strange how such a big phenomenon could be having a direct impact at a neighbourhood level. In the UK we call this phenomenon Clone Town or Home Town. Clone Towns are places where you could be anywhere, nothing distinctive or particular about the physical appearance of the town or high street. No special localised or regional shops, products or services that let you know you're somewhere. These towns have an absence of individuality. They are populated by international chain-store brands that have an increasing presence around the world – you could be in a Mall in Tokyo, Paris, or London! Home Towns on the other hand are distinctive. People live, visit or spend time in these places because there is something unique, unusual, intimate in scale and particular about them. They are definitely somewhere rather than anywhere. They are attractive to people for all these reasons, they have a style about them, they represent small-scale business, they're intimate and you know the people that work and visit in these places.
There are a number of these kinds of cafes still around in London. We couldn't get to all of them for this piece, but we did get to four special places in Islington, north London. There is a great website you can check-out for more places to visit and enjoy called: www.classiccafes.co.uk. Happy exploring! (by Stuart Taylor, London Correspondent)