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The 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards

24th April - 22nd May 2019

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25 Cool Cafés

The Kent cafés that offer relaxed charm, quality home-made food and a friendly smile. Be rude not to work through them one-by-one, right?

Juliets, Tunbridge Wells

There’s a real charm about this place, and a certain buzz, two of the key ingredients required to make a really outstanding café. Add in a loyalty with the locals (it’s very much the place to meet and greet in the lower end of the High Street) – it is, as all good cafés should be, at the heart of the local community. Then there’s the super tasty food – from Smashed Avocado to Juliets Pancakes and artisan breads, pastries, cakes to die for – this place has it all.

Daily Bread, Rusthall

If freshly baked cakes and bread, big breakfasts, super lunches, home smoked meats & homemade sausages is your thing you’ll love the Daily Bread. They serve everything from Full English Breakfasts to indulgent afternoon teas making this a real hidden gem. The decor is as suitably cute and charming as all good café should be, with curiosities dotted around; artwork on the walls and a selection of books available to read during your visit. You can even pop out in the patio garden if the sun’s out, the perfect spot for your next coffee meet.

Ottos, Sevenoaks 

Otto’s is an independent coffee house and kitchen, located at the top of Sevenoaks High Street, in Kent. In a 16-Century building, steeped in history and character, Otto’s is one cool cafe. Run by two local lads, Jack and Nick with a passion for all things food and coffee.

The Little Bull, Brenchley

Introducing The Little Bull, a small but perfectly formed cafe/wine bar in Brenchley. Expect aromatic, locally roasted coffee in the day along with an assortment of fresh (and local!) cakes and pastries. What’s more they have a superb evening drinks menu which consists of expertly chosen wine and a selection of interesting gins. Always a pleasant surprise to find a fun little café hidden away off the beaten track.

Seaside Cake Parlour, Margate

Kent’s first all vegan café & cakeshop! Only using the finest and freshest plantbased ingredients, Seaside Cake Parlour create cakes and pastries that will fill your belly and warm your heart. Go and visit or book directly for the fabulous Afternoon Tea – and don’t forget to check out their amazing Sunday all-you can-eat Brunch Buffet!

Hamerton & Jones, Goudhurst

Decent coffee, fresh and wholesome food and a warm welcome… If you like the sound of that then let me introduce you to this fab new rural café. Visit with friends or family or make it a pit stop on your cycling/walking tip. It’s even perfect for grabbing last minute gorgeous birthday gifts because it has a little gift shop attached. Somewhere to go for a relaxed girlie lunch or when you can’t face feeding yourself/your other half/the kids. A lovely little modern curiosity shop.

The Greedy Cow, Margate

For a seriously good sourdough toastie make a beeline to The Greedy Cow. Available from noon onwards (only breakfasts are served in the mornings), their renowned Greedy Cow Burgers and luxuiours caramel Brownies are on offer. Or go for a Gents Burger, made with black pudding, sausage, bacon, cheddar, chutney and beetroot and served with fennel coleslaw. Eat in the upstairs café or ask for your order to go. Located in the attractive Old Town, a stones throw from the sea, this bright, characteristic restaurant has plenty to offer.

Jittermugs, Faversham 

Jittermugs is a small coffee shop with a variety of homemade cakes, including gluten-free and vegan options. In the evenings they open as a candlelit wine bar and offer tasty tapas, continental beers and flowing beats. They’re recently just had a big refurb which looks beautiful according to their Facebook page, we can’t wait to pop in to see the new look!

Vinery Café, Hawkhurst

Nestled in the beautiful Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst, this cute little tea room offers something special indeed! With an emphasis on healthy and seasonsal eating, their menu changes every few days so you’ll always find different. Open Tuesday to Sunday, don’t miss their Sunday roast lunches with all the trimmings and gorgeous American Style Pancakes and especially the Walled Nursery Granola for breakfast.

Steep Street Coffee House, Folkestone

Right in the heart of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter you’ll find this lovely little literary café, a place that feels distinctly Parisian. Relaxed and welcoming, interesting, arty books line the walls – poetry and local literature, classics and coffee table hardbacks. In the tradition of the first European coffee houses, the team at Steep Street hope their space will become a hub for lively conversation, meetings, reading, writing and entertaining. All of this is to be fuelled, of course, by their speciality coffee, sandwiches, salads, paninis, patisserie and a good deal of their famous home-made cake.

The Politician’s Daughter, Wingham

Nestled in this wonderful pocket of Kent you’ll find a cute and quirky tea room that is part café, part gift shop. Speciality coffees, homemade cakes, pastries & lunches are served amongst an array of fun gifts & homeware. It’s within tree swinging distance of Wingham Wildlife Park if you want to make a family day of it.

The Black Douglas Coffee House, Deal

With a laid-back vibe, this is very much a Bohemian place, it’s also brilliant for breakfast and overlooks the sea. As the name suggests, they are proud of the quality coffee. But it also offers good, simple food, sourced locally and has garnered quite a local loyal customer base. There’s a new outdoor courtyard – perfect for big groups and anyone who wants to enjoy the summer sunshine.

Chocolatl, Tunbridge Wells

A chocolate-inspired cafe and shop with some of the best hot chocolates (made with real melted chocolate) topped with home-made marshmallows. Brunch and lunch at Chocolatl sees classic dishes revamped with a playful chocolate twist; smashed avocado with feta and cocoa nibs, smoked salmon bagel with white chocolate horseradish cream cheese and home-made pork and cocoa sausage rolls – just to name a few! With home-made cakes, chocolate cocktails and delicious milkshakes, it’s been tried and tested a few times by our Muddy team and c’mon who doesn’t love chocolate?

Where Memories Meet, Wateringbury

Whizzing around the county I often pass Wateringbury, not far outside Maidstone, and every time this little tea room catches my eye. I mean, it’s pink for a start, so hard to miss. Downstairs, they buy and sell antiques and vintage delights too, making it extra worth the visit. Describing themselves as a speciality tea shop, you’ll find fine loose-leaf and speciality teas from around the world here (no tea bags in sight) and you can buy everything from the hand-made cakes to the pictures on the wall to the chairs you sit on.

Tadpole Tearooms, Canterbury

Tadpole Tearooms is situated in a rural, working mixed farm. Located in a wonderful walking area in Canterbury with cycling routes close by, bring your wellies (and your dogs!) and pop in for breakfast, lunch or tea. Or sit outside in the sun in their glorious outside area. It’s a great place to catch-up with friends, with a kiddie area with books, crayons and, toys so you don’t have to entertain the mudlets.

Secret Garden Cafe at Joanne Harmer Gallery, Deal

The Secret Garden Café is this super-cute little courtyard, discovered by walking through the arched doorways of Joanne Harmer Gallery. Serving freshly ground coffee, teapigs teas, cream teas and freshly baked cakes. Furnished with rocking chairs, a double swing seat, beautiful music and fairy lights this café has a relaxed, magical and peaceful atmosphere. Shhh, it’s just between us, right?

The Deaf Cat, Rochester

Another one that’s all about the coffee. A quirky old-school venue in a perfect position on Rochester’s High Street with a view directly across to the cathedral. And in case you’re wondering about the name (yes, I heard you mumbling at the back) it’s named after Charles Dickens’ favoured pet (the author lived at Gad’s Hill Place, near Rochester, fact fans) and the sense of history suits the listing building setting.

Kitch, Canterbury 

With marble top tables, this place is Insta-ready. Aside from looking cool, Kitch serves delicious, homemade food. You can expect; all day breakfasts, brunch, healthy lunches with juices, matchas, charocal lattes and even cakes. Not forgetting the gluten & nut free, vegan, vegetarian options!

Basil, Tunbridge Wells/Tonbridge/Sevenoaks

Basil arrived with the ‘simple philosophy of providing deliciously wholesome, home-cooked food, scrumptious cakes & really great coffee’ – and having enjoyed their food on more than one occasion I think it’s fair to say it’s achieved exactly that. The place to eat if you’re in the St. Johns Road bit of Tunny Wells, or in the town centre – not forgetting Tonbridge and Sevenoaks now too! Don’t leave without trying their award-winning chocolate brownies.

Cocolicious, Cranbrook

With friendly staff, stylish, relaxing interiors made-to-order milkshakes (my mudlets like the Oreo one) you can opt for super healthy salads just as easily and indecently indulgent treats. I know that they can even make great cakes for special occasions to order to if you ask. Definitely worth a visit.

Alice and the Hatter, Herne Bay

Oh like things quirky, do you? Come join the madness at this new, themed café complete with chequered floors, throne chairs, teacup stools, grassy nooks. Even the menus are bonkers – there’s How Long is Forever (yoghurt, granola and mixed berries) or The Great Cheshire Cat (buttered croissant with ham/cheese…) Centre-stage at the William Street tearoom is a large communal table, known as the Queen of Hearts table, bringing together large groups visiting for special occasions. It’s child-friendly but as much aimed at adults who have a taste for the fun and unusual.

The Chocolate Cafe, Canterbury

Another chocolate place! We’re obsessed! Do you think they’ll offer me a life-time’s supply? As the name suggests, this place specialises in the sticky, sweet stuff, with things like chocolate cakes, Belgian chocolate truffles and rich hot chocolates as well as other chocolatey favourites. For those that don’t have such a sweet tooth, there’s also coffee, savoury snacks and wines (it turns into a bar atmosphere at night with jazz evenings and the like). The decor is rich and dark like chocolate with a certain Bohemian flair and attracts a fair few tourists. A second branch has just opened its doors this summer in Folkestone’s Rendezvous Street.

Eat ‘n’ Mess, Sevenoaks

In a prime position on London Road, in Sevenoaks this is a boutique little cakery selling scrummy handmade offerings which are all free of either gluten, dairy or refined sugar. It’s popular with people who don’t have any dietary restrictions because the baked goodies on offer taste just as good (trust me, I’ve tried them all…) but for those that are gluten or dairy intolerant this place is a little slice of heaven, drawing in cake lovers from all over the county.

Finch House, Tonbridge

In the middle of town, this is a large, airy café selling everything from fresh pies and paninis to pancakes. It’s the perfect antidote for anyone that prefers large pine tables and crisp white interiors to gingham and vintage. Despite the size it’s kept its cosiness and personal touch and is always packed. Thanks to the success of this store the owners have since opened up new coffee shops in Orpington and, literally just this week, in Maidstone. The space makes it an ideal place to manoeuvre a buggy and it’s a popular meeting spot for Mums.

Café 1809, Hildenborough

Famously owned by Dame Kelly Holmes, this place (named after the number she wore for the whole six races at Athens Olympics) has gone from strength to strength. Popular with sports-fans refuelling and yummy mummies alike there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. Out back are racks with locks to park your bike safely and the menu is full of healthy options like the Yoghurt Mug (yogurt layered with granola and daily fruits) but also for the hungry at heart there’s plenty to choose from, like the Breakfast Stack (sausage, pancetta, egg…) Another Café 1809 recently opened at Cyclopark, Gravesend.

Find more ideas here

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2 comments on “25 Cool Cafés”

  • Tally September 16, 2018

    Great list, I will check some out – especially the Brenchley gem. But… you missed Fine Grind and The Black Dog in T.Wells – both exceptional for coffee and pretty good for food too! Loving the Lotus Buscuit cheesecake in Fine Grind and the smoothie bowl

  • Sandra September 16, 2018

    Certainly more to try, so thank you for the list. We actually visited the Deaf Cat last Thursday, and yes, whole heartedly recommend it.


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