Too bad I am not living in Stokey anymore as this was one of my favourite places! They do great pastry and coffee, and it is really enjoyable to sit at one of their windows and do some people watching. Unfortunately, it is quite small, and I have often had to leave again because there was no seating available. But if you do get a table, it is a real treat. I used to enjoy the fact that it is a local business with a lot of support from local residents, a bit like a village cafe. And the best thing is their bakery - as a German expatriate, there is one thing I really miss from home, and that's fresh bread. Well, I can tell you that the Spence bakery is an excellent remedy!
The Spence food is pretty good. Good to visit once in a while if you can bear to fight your way through the £500 baby buggies to get to the counter.
The staffing sometimes leaves something to the imagination in that there can be a whole line of them behind the counter, you ask for a cup of coffee and a sandwich and it is as if the world has come crashing down around you, that nobody has operated a coffee machine before etc etc.
Still if you want staff with common sense who work from an operations manual you don't come to non-conformist Stoke Newington, you're better off going to MacDonalds on Oxford Street.
Unlike a previous reviewer I would not say the food is cheap - in fact to my mind it is quite pricey, which fits in with the whole artisan, low production volume ethos of the business.
As a final comment, I would say the Spence is quintessentially representative of what the hand-wringing leftist Guardianista inhabitants of Stoke Newington would like from a bakery. So if that's not your thing don't bother going through the door.
This bakery and cafe is a local favourite and usually full of Stoke Newington regulars enjoying delicious coffee and gorgeous pastries. It's quite a small place with a few seats inside but more tables outside on the pavement where you can sit and pretend you're in France, sipping cafe au lait and soulfully nibbling a fresh almond croissant.
Great bread but thick with Stokey yummy mummys and their pram tanks.
Not really enough comfy places to sit - very much a short-stay place I think. Nice sandwiches.
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