Published on February 18, 2013 | by Rosie Conroy


You’ll be happy you arrived at Departure


Departure is a library, cafe, restaurant and community centre all in one. [photo courtesy of Neil, Departure]


Down one of Limehouse’s not so chic streets, and directly opposite the DLR station, lies a well kept creative secret – Departure.

It’s the perfect venue for an inexpensive lunch date or an all day study session; there’s no pressure to buy anything to stay.

Departure is a little bizarre – but in a good way – it amalgamates a library, café, restaurant and community centre. Additionally, because it is a charity many events are free and food is pocket friendly.

Mismatched furniture is scattered around the conservatory entranceway in a well curated sort of jumble sale style.

There’s a productive and creative atmosphere that is conducive to both work and play. If you need a study break half way through, musical instruments are readily available to pick up and have a tinker with.

There’s a varied book collection if academic reading gets the better of you for you to browse.

It is in no way glamorous or refined, but portions are large, filling and satisfying in a way only a big feed can be.

The café will supply you with hot drinks from 60p for a cup of tea, subsequent refills then cost half the original price.

This is an ideal situation for those of us who can’t concentrate at home yet can’t afford an all day study session in Starbucks.

Moreover, you are entirely welcome to use the free wifi for as long as you like, with no purchase necessary. A request of just tap water would probably even be met with a smile.

Their small and friendly team uses produce which is sourced locally, and fairtrade and organic where possible. They have three main meals, which change daily and are all under £5.00. These include a vegetarian option, soup, and a meat or fish dish.

Recents have included greek salad with hummus and flat breads for £3.00, and garlic chicken with mashed potatoes for £3.50. It is in no way glamorous or refined, but portions are large, filling and satisfying in a way only a big feed can be.

They also run book clubs, craft markets, performances, talks, exhibitions, and a number of art groups and classes, usually only for a voluntary donation, which range from sculpture to poetry writing and every Friday at 7pm they host a free film night.

Departure, 649 Commercial Road, E14

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