With picture windows looking onto Lee Valley Park, a cosy quirky interior flooded with light, Caravan coffee and homemade Swedish specials on the menu, Cooper & Wolf is a big hit in Clapton. The former glazer’s shop was refurbished six months ago by husband and wife team Alex and Sara, who named the café for their cats and commissioned the modern fairytale street art outside. This is very much a family business – Alex and Sara live close by and their son took his first steps on the characterfully battered blue floor of the café.
An ex-designer from Malmö, Sara is very happy to have swapped a career in front of the computer for hands-on creative work, though cooking to keep up with demand is a big task. She thinks the Brits take willingly to Swedish food because dishes like meatballs are honest, simple, and not too alien for the British palate. Sara is delighted with the support she and Alex have had from regular customers, and from fellow shopkeepers on Chatsworth Road.
Cooper & Wolf try to use local suppliers, including Hansen & Lydersen salmon. The Scandinavian Kitchen supply Swedish delicacies, otherwise hard to find, and H.G. Walter provide free range and organic meat. And the menu continues the family theme: the meatball recipe is from Sara’s grandmother Lisa, and the fishcake recipe comes from head chef Paul’s grandmother. Along with businesses like L’Epicerie, Cooper & Wolf is part of the family-friendly regeneration of Chatsworth Road, bringing some Swedish cinnamon soul to Hackney.
Sara describes pytt i panna (“bits in a pan”) as a good hangover cure, akin to a full English breakfast. The wonderful kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) are very traditional in Sweden – click here to find a visual guide to making them. And råraka is a crispy potato cake, delicious served with smoked salmon.