North London's Cultural Guide

Why you should support Chalk Farm Road’s Luminary Bakery

This social enterprise bakery not only sells delicious goodies, it also empowers disadvantaged women

We’ve occasionally enjoyed a coffee at the original Luminary on a sleepy Stoke Newington backstreet, so were pleased to spot them moving into the unit formerly occupied by The Bowery on Chalk Farm Road.

A social enterprise bakery, founder Alice Williams started the project to help women who have experienced social and economic disadvantage. She offers them opportunities to build a future, while providing a “safe and professional environment”, she says.

The upstairs mezzanine area. Photo: Lizzie Bielicki

Situated right next to Near & Far bar on the corner of Ferdinand Street, the airy white-box interior of the new cafe is surprisingly cavernous, with seating on several floors, as well as the shiny, spacious new bakery itself which can be spied at lower ground level.

On the counter is the to-be-expected range of baked goods, including gluten-free and vegan, made fresh each morning, as well as ethical beans, sourced from fellow social enterprise New Ground Coffee (we can vouch for the smoothness of the espresso).


Lunch comprises mostly toasties, but look out for the chalked-up specials: on our visit a zingy, well-dressed ‘Green Queen’ salad layered flavour, texture and colour with raw courgette, peas, mint, rocket and a whorl of hummus. Lightly chewy soda bread was on hand to mop it all up, making it a decent, and healthy, lunch at £7.50.

Colourful: salad special. Photo: SE

Partially funded by the National Lottery, the new site enables the bakery to bring opportunities to four times as many women at any one time.

“At Luminary we believe all women deserve the opportunity to fulfil their potential and we’re excited that this expansion will enable so many more women to thrive,” says Alice.

And as you would expect, every purchase made helps support those who need it on a journey to employment and independence.

So next time you’re down in Camden, skip the streetfood and make for this worthwhile new addition.

47 Chalk Farm Road, NW1, open weekdays, 7.30pm-4pm (new times post-lockdown). More info: or follow them @luminarybakery.

Main image: SE

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