Why Flapjacks Cafe matters

‘I’m heartened that it exists, that there are patient, caring, supportive people who want to work there and help their colleagues’

When I first went into Flapjacks on Kentish Town Road I walked out within a minute and vowed never to go again. I’d asked a simple question, wasn’t given a simple answer, there was some dithering – and so I left.

I subsequently found out that Flapjacks is a community project; a social enterprise café run by The Camden Society and staffed by disabled people (in my experience, with mental disabilities).

And so I felt a little guilty, yet intrigued, when my daughter informed me that she wanted to buy a picture that was on sale there. It was time to go back.

The place isn’t well decorated, the service not polished in a swanky sort of cafe-culture way and, Kentishtowners, the coffee is pretty average. But the employees try hard: they want us to have a nice time, and take pride in their work.


I’m heartened that it exists, that there are patient, caring, supportive people who want to work there and help their colleagues. I’m heartened too that there are places to go for those who haven’t been dealt the best hand, where they can have a purpose, make a difference and earn some money.

London has a high ratio of individuals with mental health problems and lots of us can be guilty of demonising them, or being a bit frightened. Flapjacks helps me turn them back into people. In short, when I go in there I’m glad to be alive.

Words: James Beevers

Image: Transition Kentish Town


  • Show Comments

  • alex


    • Darren

      I don’t think it was patronising at all, I thought it a great piece. I’ll check it out this weekend!

  • Leslie Wilson-Rutterford

    It is a different experience to come here rather than another cafe. It has the provincial charm of a cafe/tea house you might find outside of London. It doesn’t have any atmosphere as such. The food is good and served with thought and pride. A feel-good factor is available once you know you’re patronising a social project, and have taken the time, and extra nerve sometimes required, to be served by individuals less able in some respects. It is value for money, especially when you consider you can get a full English breakfast for half the price of the overblown Cafe Renoir across the road. Do try it, at least once, and then you can say you’ve done it, even if it isn’t quite your cup of tea!

  • Kentishtowner

    Interesting. We liked James’ piece because we’ll admit we’ve walked past many times without pausing to investigate what the cafe is actually about.

    Some twitter reaction: @TiggerTherese says it’s ‘well worth supporting’ whilst @bofox says ‘Great Post. I’ll definitely pop in now I know [its]background.’

    Maybe you can elaborate, Alex?

  • Tim

    What I want to know is: do they open on sunday mornings and do they do fried bread and stewed tomatoes? I can’t find a proper dirty full english on sunday morning anywhere!

  • Louise Perry

    I thought this was a very thoughtful and honest piece of writing. Will try to pop by the next time I’m in the area.

  • Gabby

    Great piece. Thankyou for drawing my attention to a place that I often walk past. Next time I will go in.

  • Fiona

    It would be very easy to get lost in a sea of fashionable moments now happening all over the place in funny old Kentish Town and it’s very cheering to see that this site is happy to deal with the reality of the area, from the sublime to the ridiculous, via the marginalised and excluded. Except they’re not excluded on here, they get write-ups alongside restaurants of the year (e.mono) and it’s just…great stuff. I’ll be going in, and wouldn’t have thought to otherwise. Thankyou for writing about this.

  • Surfie2011

    I’ve eaten a couple of times – food is delightful and good value. Just go with the flow – if you ordered the veggie lasagne and got the butternut squash quiche, who really cares? It was delicious.

  • K

    I went today, will be going back 🙂

  • Ondrej

    I occasionally work in Kentish Town and when I’m there I go for the lunch menu for 4.20 in this fine place because I always know it is going to be something really nice and tasty and prepared with care. The closest you can get to that good old home-made food of your ma or grandma! And the guys working there are very nice as mentioned above, I only posted this comment because I felt that the food served in Flapjacks was not praised enough on this page.

  • sadie

    I went to the flapjack cafe being new to the Area chose it because there were lots of patrons in there compared to the other eateries, the food was homemade, we had an American size portion of lemon merringe pie and custard and a full English breakfast… Wow it was reasonably priced and the food and service was so good..

    I would Defo go back… Keep up the good work…