A cabmen shelter once has been reborn into a café making it a perfect pit-stop for a bite to eat. The abandoned cab shelter was nicknamed The Pier and dates back to 1910 and has been derelict for ten years. It was once a place that provided sanctuary for cab drivers who were able to purchase freshly made food and drink at the shelter. The café will now provide quality sandwiches, small plates, and coffee to the local community with a stunning view overlooking the twinkling lights of Albert Bridge.
Between 1875 and 1914, sixty-one cab shelters were commissioned by the Cab Shelters Trust. The Grade II listed cab shelter on Embankment is one of only thirteen that remain and was built on a no-stopping ‘red route’ which made it inaccessible to many cabbies. The shelter has been lovingly restored by Heritage of London Trust and its new occupants Melis Kurum and Cem Kemahli who have given this charming landmark new life. The other twelve remaining cabmen shelters will remain reserved for black cab license holders but Café Pier has its doors open to the public, with special perks for cab license holders.
Mellis and Cem have been working with close friend and chef Eduard Kunze-Concewitz a former bakery product developer at B Bagel and chef at the World’s 50 Best restaurant Mikla, Istanbul. They have curated a menu consisting of fresh pastries including ham and cheese filled croissants and pain au chocolate available during breakfast.
For lunch the sandwich offering includes cheese toastie with Red Leicester, Montgomery Cheddar, Ogleshield and spring onions; salami, butter, dill pickles on sourdough; mozzarella with homemade parsley pesto, and many more. The café operates mainly through takeaway as cab shelters as the shelters are built fairly small although there will be a lovely sun-filled terrace overlooking the river.
During the weekend, the café will serve an al fresco menu that features larger plates including soft-boiled egg with butter and marmite soldiers, and ham with Comte shavings, fudgy egg, capers, and whipped butter. Post-brunch, you can also enjoy a range of cheese and charcuterie plates including salami with figs; and ham with preserved pineapple, wholegrain mustard. Coffee, soft drinks and juices are also available to order. Weekend pop-ups from emerging chefs will also see new talent takeover the shelter’s small kitchen, as the café collaborates with London’s culinary talent.