Tucked away behind Waterloo Station is Lower Marsh, another of London’s hidden gems. Once it was the place to go to get cheap, yet excellent, Chinese food. Now, it has undergone a bit of a change, with a regenerated top end near the Old Vic Theatre and a little market selling cup-cakes and the like. Towards the arches of the railway, is Four Corners Café – a travel themed venue that was one of the finalists in the recent Coffee Stop Awards for best café in London. Does it live up to the hype?
Coffee – 5/5
A big, tasty cup of Ozone Coffee. Plenty of flavour, nice and hot and a good size. It was dusted with a bit of chocolate and cinnamon but it was subtle enough to not overwhelm the rich coffee taste. At £2.50, it was a good price too.
Atmosphere – 4/5
While it is a travel-themed cafe, the theme isn’t overwhelming. There are nods here and there, like the map of the world with Polaroid of various customers pinned to it and a screen showing pictures from cool locations across the world. The whole place is actually quite clean and airy – unlike most traveller or backpacker venues. The only issue I had was with the uncomfortable chairs. It seems that a lot of cafes these days are going for seating that looks cool but aren’t nice to sit on. Or maybe it’s just a way of keeping a high turnover of customers.
Food – 3/4
The usual bunch of stuff here – sandwiches, baked goods and soup. It all looked excellent, including the huge lumps of bread, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more variety.
Service – 3/3
Great, fast service from baristas that clearly knew what they were doing – both on the coffee making and the table service fronts.
Extras – 3/3
Lots of cool little things going on here. Find Uncle Steve, a little plastic figure, in the café and win a free coffee next time you go. Get your coffee passport stamped (essentially just a loyalty card but nice they’ve stuck with the theme). Classes on coffee making and much more.
Summary – 18/20
This does live up to its reputation as one of the best cafes in London. It plays nicely with its travel theme without forcing it down your throat and is a bright and cheerful addition to Lower March.
12 Lower Marsh