Pavilion: the Cafe in Victoria Park


Cafes in parks often disappoint.

(Finsbury Park this means you).

The closed market of chilled dog walkers with full bladders make for easy profits with an overpriced but bog-standard brew.

Pavilion, best known as ‘the Cafe in Victoria Park’, is a cafe in which you’d gladly lunch or breakfast even if it were situated on the dingiest high street.

It’s reasonable, and the food is of consistently high quality. The owners’ other venture, Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market was awarded a ‘bib gourmand’ from Michelin (a sort of value for money style ‘star’).

Octagonal with a loosely nautical theme; the cafe overlooks park, boating pond and excitable, overfed waterfowl.

Pavilion is not especially great for the food intolerant, with one ‘official’ gluten free item on the breakfast menu and no available soya milk. The vegetarian breakfast however, comes with so many elements that asking for the toast to be omitted won’t leave you hungry.

How to get there?

If you live in East London it’s a cinch! Because you know and love the canal running from Broadway Market to Hackney Wick and you’re out cycling on it every weekend. In my flat this towpath is so important it makes up a good part of an ‘essential walk’ for my french flatmate’s ‘London Tour’, carefully planned to impress european visitors.

If you don’t know Hackney so well… ehhh… there are undergrounds, over-grounds and buses but they won’t get you that close, you’ve still got a 15 minute walk on your hands. I saw some reviews on the internet lamenting it’s ‘difficult’ location… in a beautiful park, beside a handsome canal…

Anyway, I was in the cafe for quite a long time: breakfast, ran into a couple I knew, tea, and a little coffee to perk me up at the end – I lost concentration a bit on the railings… It took nearly three hours all in.

The view is that from inside the cafe (hence the spray of flowers in the foreground) on a pretty chilly day. I started in ink on part of the flowers but admit to reverting to pencil with the railings/bicycle and eh… most of the drawing was done with this. There’s some overzealous ‘pond’ colouring behind the flowers which obscures part of the table that I’m a bit annoyed about, but the overlapping objects have been a good (if not entirely successful) learning experience.


10 thoughts on “Pavilion: the Cafe in Victoria Park

  1. That is a really nice drawing.

    I have done quite a bit of sketching with pencil, pen, brush and ink from inside restaurants and cafes. Patrons and owners seem ok with it as long as you make a purchase or two and don’t keep customers from getting seated.

    I remember many years ago I even completed a few from a college cafeteria … while waiting for my future wife. You can see one of them in (, the archive section of my website. Newer ones are posted under sketches.

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