Review: Four Corners Cafe

Four Corners Cafe was one of those finds you always dream of coming across in a serendipitous way. I had arrived at Waterloo Station more than an hour and a half before a scheduled meeting at The Sea Life London Aquarium and was looking for somewhere to settle down and get an hours work done.

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Four Corners Cafe, 12 Lower Marsh, London SE1 9RJ

Out came my go to coffee app, Best Coffee (£). I discovered that there was an independent coffee bar a few hundred metres away. Using the map on the app I was able to find Four Corners Cafe easily. My route from near the London Eye did take me through what looked like London’s street art gallery – the long dark passage under the tracks out of Waterloo Station. Like many London cafes, they cater for cyclists in addition to walk-in customers. The first indication of this was the bike rack outside the pale green frontage.

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The welcoming, travel themed interior of Four Corners Cafe

As you go through the door there is a welcoming buzz. The furnishing was a little eclectic and the decor shabby chic. In the window were bistro style tables and stools with that slightly worn and used look common with shabby chic interiors.

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Shabby chic meets travel is the dominant design direction

The standout piece of furniture was a large “sharing table” in an eye searing brightly coloured mosaic reminiscent of Ghanaian Kente cloth.

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Four Corners Cafe’s flat white on the central sharing table.

It was at this point I began to really notice the travel theme of the cafe. The name Four Corners began to take on a double meaning; four corners of the globe and the fact that it sits on a crossroads of pedestrian streets.

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The serving bar is decorated with old guidebooks and maps

The interior is decorated with old maps and guides as well as travel related pictures and mounted maps. Towards the back is a bistro style bar you can sit at with a vast range of guidebooks on the shelf in front of you.

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Donate a guidebook and get a free coffee

You can spend your time here enjoying the coffee and planning your next trip. What better way to spend an hour or two. ‘Donate your old guidebooks,’ the notice says, ‘and get a free coffee.’ You can get more free coffee by taking the “Four Corners Passport” (their loyalty card) and photographing it in some far flung corner of the world. On your return, you get a free coffee.

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The walls are also decorated with the pass of guidebooks and maps

The atmosphere and the decor can be exceptional but if the coffee and eats are below par it can ruin the experience. That is most definitely not the case with Four Corners. Using Ozone Coffee they make a mean flat white with a dark cocoa flavour and a hint of hazelnut. Definitely a full bodied coffee and one I would make the effort to come back for.

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Apple and cinnamon cake and a flat white. Perfect.

On the bar were a number of cakes and pastries all looking eminently edible. I chose the apple and cinnamon sponge from among other favourites such as red velvet cake, carrot cake and blueberry sponge. My choice was light and moist and tasted of the two ingredients it was named after. It could have done without the sweet icing on top as the cake was more than capable of holding its own without the extra sweetness the icing brought to the plate. Four Corners Cafe is a great find and a fun place to take time out. It’s an intriguing place in the intriguing Lower Marsh and sits comfortably in its community. As someone who travels a great deal, I also sat comfortably in the travel themed surroundings of the cafe itself. This cafe is very conducive to planning my next trip or just plain dreaming of travel while drinking a great tasting coffee and tucking into a treat or three. Shame I don’t live in London. I will be visiting again on any one of my Waterloo bound trips. Was I inspired to travel more? I certainly was… Latvia here I come.

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it

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