DAA Residential
Whats in Wapping

Turks Head Cafe

Turks Head Cafe

Based in a former pub of the same name, local gem the Turk’s Head café is an excellent cheap eaterie on the corner of Scandrett St and Greenbank.

There’s a tiny gallery in the basement showing works by local photographers.

Now owned by a charitable trust, the original building was said to be that local inn where a last quart of ale was served to condemned pirates on their way from Newgate to Execution Dock (now the site of Wapping station).

Turks Head Cafe New DoorThe Turks Head Cafe was reviewed in summer 2010 but we’ve checked with the reviewer: “the food hasn’t changed, it’s as super as ever”, so read the cafe review below. However, we’re updating the page because…

The Turks Head Cafe has a New Door!

Turks-Head-New-PlaqueNot something to normally get excited about, but a “New Door Watch” emerged as residents reported progress in August

View photos

The Turks Head Trust fitted the door to be more in keeping with the historic building and it now resembles the original pub door as well as having a new plaque fitted and restoring the broken tile lettering.

The Turks Head has also created a food garden, including greens and herbs which are on offer to customers if you help with weeding or next year’s planting!

Many thanks to residents for sharing their photos and updates:

Turks Head Charitable Activities

The Turks Head is owned and managed by a charity, the Turks Head Company who are busy pursuing a number of charitable activities. These include paying for a feasibility study to investigate a way of permanently improving the former docks’ water quality by refilling it from a borehole rather than nutrient rich river water.

Can You Help?

The Turks Head is looking for a donation of a pair of oak barrels or large planters to plant redcurrants and blackcurrants in to grow up the wall in the Turks Head community food garden.

If you have such a thing, please get in touch with the cafe.

Turks Head Cafe – Resident Reviewed

Among the all-day breakfasts are traditional English plus variants including vegetarian, eggs Florentine or Benedict, and my particular favourite, smoked salmon and eggs scrambled just the way I like them.

For lunch there is a wide choice of sandwiches, baguettes, panini or ciabattas eg avocado and bacon, brie and cranberry, various salads, and a few Mediterranean/Turkish options, hot or cold. Kofte or kebab and rice are two regular daily specials. Ingredients are nice and fresh and vegetarians well catered for; I recommend the cold mixed mezze plate.

There is also a children’s menu and a take-away service available.  The café provides a range of coffees and teas to accompany cake or muffin desserts.

Décor is sunny and pleasantly plain, with old local photos and maps on the walls. Most newspapers are available for diners, making this the perfect brunch stop. If weather permits, you can eat at tables in the garden, a little oasis adjacent to Wapping Gardens. A vegetable plot was recently established here, so before long there will be very fresh greens.

A child-friendly approach makes this a valued meeting place for parent and baby groups.

From time to time the Turk’s Head further fulfils its role as a community enterprise by hosting events for the History of Wapping Trust, whose books and Christmas cards are also for sale here.

The upper floor of the building has been converted into small business studios with the delightful name of Happiness at Work. This is certainly demonstrated by the café staff downstairs, whose service with a smile can occasionally slow down at very busy times.

Reviewed by: Helen Massey

Turks Head Cafe
1 Green Bank
Wapping E1W 2PA

Access: small step to Greenbank entrance, wheelchair access via the Scandrett Street entrance. No wheelchair access to the toilets which are in the basement.

Open: 8 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.

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  • Walshey

    I used to live in Wapping but now slightly further afield in San Francisco. When I left in ’93 The Turks Head was most famous for (apart from it’s obvious history) being the setting for a Morrissey video! Upon my return I was delighted to see the building restored to it’s former glory and even more pleased to see it become the best breakfast spot in London. Well, I haven’t tried them all but…I digress. The staff are lovely, always happy to see you to the point where I always think they’re laughing at my order! The veggie breakfast is great and I agree with another reviewer who says the salmon scramble is the star of the show. The tea is strong and I’ll even indulge in the occasional slice of cheesecake because, like everything in The Turk’s, it’s really fresh. I love going in there to read the paper and remind myself that London will always be my home. It will be some commute if I want breakfast in here every morning though.

  • Helen

    Local pics Xmas cards on sale here now.

  • James W

    Agree Debbie …the new door watch was fun.
    Working away at the moment but not good to hear the veggies are going to waste as they were meant to be really good.

  • Debbie Berg

    Love the new door, but the community garden, or veg patch, could do with some love and attention. Shame to see food has gone to waste.

  • Helen

    The completed new door – only awaiting an Open/Closed sign! A large security door behind it completely seals off the entrance from would-be evil-doers at night. This new door resembling the original pub door was erected as more in keeping. Pic on the Turks Head facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=305209814387&view=user#!/group.php?gid=305209814387&ref=ts
    (I hope that long address works)

  • josephine

    Am loving the breaking news! I walk past each morning and noticed the door change a week or so ago – sorry not to have shared immediately. And definitely not somewhere to just walk past. Great little place -even has runner beans growing over the fence and a wormery if you’re into all that.

    I think, but may be wrong, that it was being left unused and then some people clubbed together to run it – that’s the Wapping spirit!

    I had some visitors over one day who, thinking it was a pub, were quite bemused to hear a 10-year-old girl yelling up to her parents that she was off to the Turk’s Head to spend her pocket money!

    They do smoothies – but only at the weekend and tend to run out by the end of Sunday – so if the heady weather of July ever returns make sure you try one!

  • James

    I’ll join you in this one Mark as breaking news! I walked past in shock today and even took a photo which I posted on the facebook page.
    Great idea as think so many people are put off because it looks closed


  • http://www.baynes.co.uk Mark Baynes

    Breaking news! It looks like The Turks Head is getting a new door! Yes, the dodgy door has gone!

    Features of the new door include glass which you can look through into the inside! And,er, probably a handle. And a lock I should think.

    I have been keeping an eye on the new door every night this week as I walk back from Brick Lane, but it does not as yet seem complete.

    Any one else want to join me in The Turks Head New Door Watch?

  • Jayne

    I’m in the “walked past it as it looks closed” camp but read this last week and decided that it was definitely worth a visit, as I’ve lived here for a while now and avoided it. Unfortunately it was raining when I went so couldn’t sit outside which I imagine is great when the sun is out but a great place – lovely atmosphere and simple but very good “cafe” food. Definitely recommend it.
    I’m definitely going to go again, but try and time it better with the weather!

  • James

    I agree Mark. I also avoided this place for ages as it always looked closed and dark!
    Weekday breakfast sounds great but not managed that one although been at the weekends a few times and great to sit outside in the summer and watch the world go by.

  • http://www.baynes.co.uk Mark Baynes

    The Turks Head is a great place to eat in an exceptionally friendly atmosphere. I know what Veronika means when she says ‘it always looks closed with the dodgy door and windows full of stuff” though! I spent weeks peeking in before I pushed the dodgy door open and have been a regular ever since.

    Highly recommended – especially for breakfast when you have a day off during the week!

  • Helen

    There’s a new plaque and history of the building added outside (see the Turks Head page on facebook). The plaque says ‘heart of wapping’ and one wonders whether more of these plaques are going to pop up on local wel lknown and loved features?

  • Veronika

    Must pop in soon. It always lloks so closed, die to the dodgy door and crammed windows full of stuff…..