When I told my boyfriend I’d booked a table at the Cat Cafe in Shoreditch his first response was he thought I was crazy. Fair enough – the words cat and crazy and lady have been thrown around for years and it’s a label I’m totally okay with.
His second more panicked response was to ask who was going with me. I thought about insisting it was him for a few days just to wind him up but he’s a pretty good bean so I let him off the hook.
Instead I told him that I’d be taking my animal loving sister along. Cue a look of major relief on his part.
So last Sunday my sister met me at Bethnal Green station and we walked up to the top of Brick Lane where Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium can be found. It was absolutely fuuuuhhhhrreeezing and the wind was really effing things up for us on the barnet front so we were glad to get inside the warm cafe.
Behind the steaming glass windows were a group of people waiting to go in. Seems a few of us had a 10.30am booking.
Seconds later a
crazy cat lady appeared wearing plastic cat ears – Ughhh! Can you believe I forgot my own! I mean if there’s a time to take your cat ears out for a spin then a visit to the cat cafe is the day! #gutted.
Anyway, the lady took us into a sort of prep room where we washed our hands and were given a list of dos and don’t. (don’t wake the cats, squeeze them to death, feed them cake etc, etc)
Then it was finally time to head in and meet the moggies.
The atmosphere inside was strange and initially both my sister and I felt a bit awkward. We were shown to a table upstairs and we sat down wondering what to do with ourselves.
Everyone else already in the cafe was sort of just staring at the cats while one person teased one of the cats with some catnip on a piece of string (there’s a lot of cat in that sentence?). It was just a bit flat and quiet. And quite frankly, odd.
So we took off our coats and started looking at the food & drinks menu.
We ordered a cake and croissant to share and I had a hot chocolate while my sister went for some sort of spicy chai latte thing.
A few more cats appeared and we started to relax into the room and started playing with the Donnie, a gorgeous white and ginger tabby.
You’re fully encouraged to get up and wander around the cafe, stroke the cats, play with them, pat them and have fun. It’s definitely not about staying sat at your table.
And ladies working there are brilliant and very knowledgeable. They know all the quirks of the cats and are happy to chat about their personalities and show you their favourite toys…as well as play with the cats themselves.
My favourite cat was Alice the kitten. When she appeared every heart in the room melted she was just SO cute.
And when she jumped up on the lap of one of the customers for a cuddle there was an audible “AWWWWW” from everyone in the room (even the men).
It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen and I was totally burning inside with jealousy that Alice wasn’t pawing at me.
Luckily I were distracted by the arrival of our drinks and snacks.
Because they have the cats on the premises they don’t allow hot food, so our croissant wasn’t warm and the cheese wasn’t melted but it was still pretty darn delicious. The hot chocolate was TO DIE FOR. And the best one I’ve had in ages. After drinking half of it and wolfing down the croissant I whimpered that I didn’t think I could eat any of the cake.
Oh how wrong I was.
Our choice of Red Velvet was sublime. Moist and sweet and everything you want in a cake. Like, everything. I was SO impressed that the food and drinks were so good considering they’re not the main pull of the, ahem, CAT cafe.
Feeling refreshed we went back to playing with the cats.
Alice, bless her, was having a right old ball as we whipped the catnip wand back and forth.
That ^^^^^ face – I mean, come on. How could you not love her.
We continued to coo over Alice and her pals before finally concluding it was time to pay up and head on.
But not before we had a taster of a new cake they were trying out…
Our bill was £25 which included £6 per person entry charge.
It was a fun and certainly different morning out. If you’re mad about moggies then it’s definitely worth a visit. You can book up to 90 days in advance however you’ll find that sessions get booked up quickly. It’s definitely worth checking the evening before or even the morning of as bookings are often cancelled last minute. I was lucky when I checked on Friday evening that they had a spot on that coming Sunday. It was the ONLY free spot for the whole of that weekend.
After Lady Dinah’s we decided to take a stroll down Brick Lane – Y’see I was looking for a new hat…
And my sister thought this one might do. I kinda love it. But I actually needed one that would keep my ears warm, not my head safe from falling watermelons.
Further down Brick Lane we stumbled upon the food stalls and promptly forgot all about hat purchases.
Everything was such a vibrant colour and there were tonnes of amazing scents bombarding our noses.
It all looked so good…we were regretting filling up on cake and croissants.
(naaaaat! I never regret food.)
^^^ Bob Marley’s favourites, no doubt!
Eventually we decided to stop torturing ourselves and turned our attentions instead to the clothing and jewellery stalls.
And these feather necklaces caught our eyes…
My sister snapped up this green and black beauty in preparation for our trip to Ibiza this coming summer.
After a bit more of a wander the lure of something else to eat got too much to bear and when I spotted The Poutinerie I knew I had to grab a portion.
For years I’ve been telling people that chips, cheese & gravy is a thing (and a freakin’ delicious thing at that!) only to be met with a look of bewilderment. Those Canadians however know what I’m taaawwwkin’ about…
Ahhh La Poutine.
A Poutine is a portion of exactly that; chips, cheese (curd) and gravy. I mean why wouldn’t you eat that combo? The warm chips and the cold cheese that starts to melt and swirl with the hot gravy – mmmmmmm. Get. in. ma. belly.
Isn’t melted cheese and carbs just the best!
I was delighted with my first official Poutine – and think you should try your own as soon as possible, it’s just such an awesome union of tastiness. Make your own at home if you don’t believe me. Orrrrr you can pop down to Brick Lane to find The Poutinerie.
Cats and Cheese and Chips. Pretty perfect Sunday really!
Thanks for reading!