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Turning A New Corner(stone)

June 9, 2013

Update: The Cornerstone interior is by Paul Crofts Studios and has been featured in the groovy and very well respected Italian design and architecture magazine Domus. Well done to Paul Crofts for achieving that most important thing: a beautifully designed, relaxing and sympathetic space. And also bravo to Julia Stone for having the vision and passion to invest in the same. It’s worthy of Woolwich!

The studio’s website is

And here’s the link to the Domus article

Cornerstone Cafe on Urbanspoon

It hasn’t taken me long to fill up my first Cornerstone Café loyalty card: nine coffees and the tenth one comes free. I simply keep dreaming up excuses to go there. For example, I’ll deliberately embark on a slower and more-expensive commute to work, via Thamesclipper to Canary Wharf, mainly so I can walk past the café (located on the Arsenal) and collect a takeaway latte and pain au chocolat.

Cornerstone Café gets the details right

Cornerstone Café gets the details right

Cornerstone falls into that important and growing category of Things That Are Good For Woolwich. And it’s clear that Julia Stone, the driving force behind this gourmet venture, has spent a lot of time and effort getting the details right.

The interior fitout makes the most of the high-ceilinged, heritage-listed building: it’s in Building 10 (or the more evocatively-named West Carriage House) where gun carriages were made back in the day. Light streams in through large windows and overhead skylights, making this a bright and uplifting space even on a dull day. The furniture is stylish, casual, and contemporary and arranged in versatile combinations: two-tops, intimate booths for small groups, and larger communal tables. Comfortable banquette seating around the perimeter invites long sessions with the Sunday papers. There’s also a corner devoted to take-home groceries such as gourmet sauces, chutneys, oils, and vinegars.

The menu features breakfast/brunch favourites cooked and presented with flair using top-quality and locally-sourced ingredients. Scrambled eggs and bacon on sourdough has become my default choice, but I can also recommend the Cornerstone Fry-Up (the café’s version of the Full English) and the Salt Beef and Potato Hash. Ask for ketchup and/or brown sauce as these are from the excellent Stokes range and well worth sploshing onto your tucker. If you’re looking for a lighter and slightly healthier lunch or takeaway dinner, there’s a choice of four or five fresh salads that change daily, which work beautifully with salmon, chicken, or a slice of frittata. There’s even a “ready meal” du jour to reheat at home: the chef whips up pasta bakes, fish dishes, pies with veg, casseroles…all around the £6 to £7 mark.

And the coffee? It’s very good. The staff have been trained properly, and make it with care. My only (very minor) quibble is that the lattes are served in those Costa-esque glasses: the tall ones with the annoying handles. My Melbourne-born-coffee-snob self would much rather sip a latte from a squat handle-free Duralex-style glass. Picky, picky.

The café has a delectable array of pastries and cakes to team with your caffeine fix. For a refreshing post-prandial palate cleanser, it also stocks the fabulous Jude’s range of icecreams and sorbets. I can vouch for the strawberry icecream but I will try every flavour, perhaps twice over, until I can make up my mind which one I like the most. All in the name of scientific research.

Details: Cornerstone is at 9 Major Draper Street, Woolwich, and is open seven days a week, from early morning to early evening. You can like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter @CornerstoneRA

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From → In Woolwich, Reviews

  1. It looks just gorgeous. After chatting with Jen this week, I have to admit that a Saturday morning visit to Woolwich is long overdue. I was last there in 2008!

  2. Hi Mandy, thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, I think you’d enjoy a day trip to Woolwich. I hope you get some ideas from my blog!

  3. Great review, I’m am getting around to one too on my blog – I aggree about the Latte cups too. I helped pick the coffee it was a great tasting day!

  4. Sounds great, and incidentally I think that your blog should be added to the ‘Things That Are Good For Woolwich’ category. I am considering as a potential place to move to as someone on a budget that wants to be in London. If it wasn’t for stumbling across this site I probably would have dismissed it as a ‘no go’ area. You are making me think that it shouldn’t be dismissed too easily.

    • Thanks Eleanor, what lovely comments! Please do get in touch if you decide to move to the neighbourhood. There’s a great blogging/twitter community here and we occasionally meet up in real life as well…
      I think Woolwich is a great option for living reasonably cheaply but being close to London. You can be in London Bridge in about 30 mins on the overground, and the DLR will get you to Bank pretty swiftly as well. And then you can go the other way, and be out in the Kentish countryside in no time at all. And of course there’s Blackheath (I call it the Richmond of the Southeast) and Greenwich close by.

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