Bromley is many things… family-friendly, great for shopping, close to London. But not many people would describe Bromley as cool. It’s filled with chain stores and there’s a bit of a lack of brilliant independent businesses. Or so you might think. Actually, if you take a closer look, you’ll find a few hidden gems around town.
Southeastern Railway asked me to pick my favourite hidden gem – and if truth be told, I’m a bit obsessed with finding places that are off the beaten track. I love discovering cafes, restaurants, shops, flower stalls (you name it!) that I haven’t seen before. And I love sharing them with friends, telling them about this amazing little place I’ve seen that they have to check out.
So my favourite hidden gem in Bromley? Ginger & Bean. This cafe on Plaistow Lane has mis-matched tables, battered chairs (that would have looked at home in your 1980s school classroom), great coffee and brilliant avocado on toast… you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m describing a hot new Shoreditch coffee shop, rather than somewhere in Bromley. Just a two minute walk from Sundridge Park station, on the outskirts of town, they offer kale smoothies and sourdough toasties, and you’ll find a mix of chatting school mums, laptop workers and commuters who pop in for a take away coffee on their way to the station.
I love how light and bright it is – even on a grey and rainy day. You can often find me sitting in the window seat, working on my laptop (question: how long is too long to sit in a cafe? Asking for a friend…) ordering a string of decaf cappuccinos. But one of my favourite things about Ginger & Bean is the friendly staff – they’re so welcoming, chatting to lots of the regulars who come in for their caffeine fix.
As I’ve mentioned before, I try to avoid sugar as much as possible, but Ginger & Bean have two things which occasionally tempt me over to the dark side: a lime and blueberry drizzle cake and the most amazing chocolate brownies I think I’ve ever tasted. Mostly, though, I stick to smashed avocado on toast or an epic bacon and egg sandwich (which is so good that Nigella Lawson Instagrammed it recently).
I always like to see great small businesses do well, and Ginger & Bean must be doing a roaring trade because they’ve just opened up a second branch – in the centre of Bromley on Market Square/the High Street. I’ve not had a chance to go in yet, but it’s been busy every time I’ve passed (and their breakfasts look awesome).
So if you’re ever thinking about coming to Bromley (I’m not trying to be an enabler but it’s a REALLY good place to do Christmas shopping), I recommend you pay a visit to Ginger & Bean – both branches are so easy to reach by Southeastern Railway (the new branch is a five minute walk from Bromley South station) and I promise you won’t regret it.
If you know of any hidden gems – places that are off the beaten track but worth checking out – you can share them on social media with the hashtag #SEhiddengems (I’d love to know about them – so please do share!).
Photography: SarahLou Francis
This post has been commissioned by Southeastern and as always, all views are my own. See my Work With Me page for details on how I work with brands.
This is just my sort of place. My sister works in a café that sounds really similar to this. Always nice to discover somewhere a little unusual. Fabulous photos too.
GREAT pictures, wonderful colours, especially love your nail polish and you know I’m a fan of that coat!
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Bromley, but I do love discovering a good cafe! My favourite railway related coffee find was a chap with a table, coffee machine and an umbrella at the top of the steps at Crouch Hill station – the coffee was excellent (sadly no avocado).
oh my…. that chocolate tart looks worth a visit!! I love hearing about other people’s hidden gems.
This place looks gorgeous! If you find yourself near Brighton hospital, Marmalade is also worth a trip.
I squealed when I saw these stunning pictures of the tee. Who am I kidding??! I’m still squealing x
This place looks and sounds fab – just my cup of tea or should I say flat white. Lovely, lovely photos too xx
Oh these photos! Stunning 🙂 You look fab and the place looks cool 🙂 Jess xx
Love this area! I could not resist but click on this post when I saw Bromley. For sure, not the coolest place but I love living around here. We have the best of both world. 15 min from Central London and yet not far from amazing places to go for lovely countryside walks! Love you T-shirt with a Frenchie bit
LOVE the photos Alison! I need to find more little cool coffee shops near me that can be a cosy little working (five minutes peace) spot, all the good ones are hidden and the big chains are always so noisy and busy!
Ah I love this. Firstly you look amazing and your photos are gorgeous and secondly I agree that it is great finding little places off the beaten track. Cambridge which is my nearest city has started opening more independent places thank god as we are a little backward here. 😉
I’m a regular and I recognise you from your window seat position! Ginger & Bean along with its neighbour, the Lavender House Cafe, has transformed our neighbourhood and given us a space to take a breath amidst the school run, a hectic work schedule or a night of interrupted sleep. Ginger & Bean has also now opened a second cafe in central Bromley (in banking square, opposite Primark) with a beautiful, calm atmosphere and the same delicious coffee and pastries. I am a self-confessed coffee snob after spending three years in Sydney and the Ginger & Bean coffee is delicious!
Just a shame they have started to close the Sundridge Park shop on a Sunday for some reason
ohhh this place looks lovely. i LOVE that coat (especially on you) and love these photos!
Love SL’s pics! Can’t wait to have her take my pic in a couple of weeks! x
Love this! Infact, love your blog.. and now I love you even more knowing that your a girl of my SE roots 😉 Will be checking this little badboy out for sure! xxx