Pies and Principles: Paper & Cup (London) and The Arch Cafe (Leeds)

We review cafes and restaurants that put morals on the menu. Under the spotlight this month, eateries in London and Leeds

Paper & Cup, Shoreditch and Bow, East London

Off the beaten Shoreditch track in London, you’ll find Paper & Cup on Calvert Street, a space billed as a “little hideaway to finish that gripping novel.” And sitting in a little cranny at the back with a cinnamon bun and comforting coffee, I did feel like I’d stepped into such a world.

The cafe and it’s sister branch shop in Bow, London are social enterprises created by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT), a charity helping people who are homeless or in poverty. So, all profits from your cake cravings go somewhere nice. There are sometimes hot meals on offer too.

The cafes double as small bookshops, with a carefully selected collection of curious secondhand reads. You’ll also find fun and quirky items for sale supplied by the SCT’s network of charity shops, and bespoke Paper & Cup merchandise. These are joined by artwork sourced from local creatives.

Open Monday to Saturday 8am-5pm and Sunday 10am-5pm (4pm at Bow)

The Arch Cafe, St John the Evangelist Church, Leeds

The Arch Cafe

The Arch Cafe, run by Age UK Leeds, opened a year ago in the Grade II listed Bradbury building which also hosts Age UK’s local offices. The cafe aims to generate income to support the work that Age UK Leeds does to support older people in the city.

As it should be, the cafe is popular with older people in the area, but you’re just as likely to find shopworkers enjoying lunch, freelancers taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi and children enjoying the ‘proper’ food on the value-for-money kids’ menu.

Much of the cafe’s appeal lies in the quality of its food – prepared in-house by a team led by Fiona Rotheray, who previously ran Leeds’ renowned organic restaurant, The Millrace.

The venue has a small but varied menu, including the usual cafe fare alongside treats such as chicken and smoked bacon rosti, plus veggie alternatives. Seasonal, local produce features strongly, as do Yorkshire free-range eggs and chicken, and bacon from outdoor-reared pigs.

Open Monday to Friday 8.30-4pm and Saturday 9-4pm

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