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A 90-Year-Old Loo Becomes a Cool New Park Cafe

Ex-Brick House and Franks’s Cafe chef has opened Slade Cafe in Plumstead Park

The Slade Cafe in Plumstead
Slade Cafe [Official Photo]

A chef with experience at some of London’s hippest restaurants and a community organiser have opened The Slade Café on Plumstead Common — a project which hopes to breathe “new life into unused 1930s toilet block.”

Chef Kieran Barry, who counts Brick House, Shrimpy’s, and Frank’s Café among his former employers leads the project with Charlotte O’Connor, whose background is in community organisation and food sustainability initiatives. The duo have opened the cafe with the support of funding from Royal Borough of Greenwich Council.

The Slade opened on Plumstead Common in late October with minimal fanfare. The owners, under no illusions that they’re reinventing the wheel and with a welcome absence of cafe-proprietor pretence, merely hope to offer “a delicious, seasonal and affordable menu with food that is handmade and freshly prepared.”

Barry, a local to the area, said: “The café will celebrate the diverse and vibrant cultures of Plumstead. Locals and visitors can expect simple, healthy dishes, made in-house wherever possible, including bread, cakes, pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches alongside high-quality barista-made coffee. All ingredients will be well sourced, and we aspire to use local, organic and Fairtrade wherever we can.”

Chef Keiran Barry with staff members Daisy and Kaja
Slade Cafe [Official Photo]

“I grew up in Plumstead and my family all still live here so I’m excited to give something back to the community that I know and love. We believe in creating a thriving community hub with good food at its heart.”

The café wants to focus on sustainability and as well as using compostable packaging, customers are encouraged to bring their own takeaway containers and coffee cups “to minimise unnecessary waste.” The café will also actively subscribe to the Healthy Catering Commitment and the Good Food in Greenwich Charter.

As well as offering food and drink during the day, the cafe will serve as a space for artists and cultural activities in Plumstead, encouraging groups “to explore their creative potential in a welcoming environment.” There will be a stage area, exhibition, and common spaces available for group meetings, activities, events, and performances.

In October, councillor Danny Thorpe, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich told an audience: “I am very pleased that the Slade Café has opened. This is a project that will benefit the local community immensely and I know that everyone has worked so hard to make this project happen. It will be a wonderful addition to the local community and I would encourage everyone to come down and visit.”