Meet My Favorite Cafe in London: Lavish Habit

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Lavish Habit

Every afternoon, without fail, I crave a cup of coffee.

Not for the caffeine jolt, though.

Coffee is how I punctuate my day. I use it as an excuse to stop what I’m doing and reflect as I enjoy the pleasure of sipping a latte in solitude. It’s become so important to my day that I get antsy if I go without it.

Since moving back to London in May, I’ve been too busy traveling to explore much of the city properly. But I have found the time to explore my wonderful new neighborhood, Balham, and in the process, I’ve discovered my new favorite cafe: Lavish Habit.

Lavish Habit

After nearly four years of near-constant travel around the world, I’ve learned how quickly you can go from being happily anonymous in a new town to aching for some kind of stability, even if it’s short-term.

That’s where becoming a regular comes in. 

Finding a place that you can visit habitually — whether it’s a cafe, a restaurant, a smoothie stand, even a particular desk at the local library or a favorite spot of sand on the beach — can do wonders for helping you put down the faintest of roots in an unfamiliar destination.

By becoming a regular, you’re no longer anonymous. People recognize you and smile. In turn, you bask in your increasing local knowledge, even if it’s just the fact that the coffee is nice here.

And when the place in question is somewhere that you genuinely enjoy — it’s all the better. That’s what I found at Lavish Habit, one of the prettiest cafes I’ve ever seen.

Lavish Habit

Sure, the wifi is great, and the outlet situation is decent, if not outstanding. But I go to other cafes to work. Lavish Habit is a place I go to get away from my work.

Lavish Habit

Lavish Habit pulls triple duty: it’s a cafe, a boutique, and an antique shop. It’s probably the girliest place in London with everything from faux-vintage jewelry to Mexican sugar skulls to the most gorgeous wrapping paper you’ve ever seen, all in bright colors.

In the boutique portion, you’ll find the following things for sale:

Lavish Habit

Necklaces, purses, and books starring Bill Murray.

Lavish Habit

Porcelain cups shaped like guinea pigs.

Lavish Habit

Enough vintage-style bird-themed glassware to outfit a Portland wedding.

Lavish Habit

The basement is home to many of the larger items and antiques, like these steamer trunks, alongside the occasional creepy doll.

Though I’ve admired a few of the dresses on the racks, I have yet to buy anything other than food here. I usually grab some avocado toast, a dish I will always associate with Australia, home to the best breakfasts on the planet.

Avocado Toast, Lavish Habit

In the back you’ll find a garden — perfect on sunny days.

Lavish Habit Garden

As for the coffee?

Lavish Habit

It is good coffee. Believe me. Everything else would fall away if the coffee here wasn’t good. (They use Monmouth Coffee, which has a great reputation in London.) But I even drop in here to pick up a small takeaway latte, even though I could get much larger ones down the road at Starbucks.

So if you’re coming to London sometime and looking for a nice cafe at which to unwind, I have just the place for you.

Where is your favorite cafe in the world?

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47 thoughts on “Meet My Favorite Cafe in London: Lavish Habit”

  1. I love Munich Bar near my house in Moscow – cozy, good food, crazy good wifi and all draft beers half off on Sundays. Which is why I usually spend the second half of every Sunday there with my laptop!

  2. Definitley true Kate. I remember coming up in Jimbaran and not having any WIFI. Of course I chose the fancy little cafe called Kafein and it was a great experience. The owners always want to say hi and interact with you and will always remember your name. Thats why I will always go back! Avacado, a bit of salt and pepper – the best! I just chuck it on the toast after a quick slice. Great source of fats.

  3. I am currently on a lookout for a cafe. I figured that there is only so much time I can spend in the office and that whenever I can, I should work outside for at least a couple of hours (luckily, I do have this option in general). I’m still on a hunt, and would love to find a place as gorgeous as this one!

  4. Looks like such a lovely little spot! I love Cong Caphe in Hanoi- Delicious Yogurt Coffee and a balcony that overlooks the craziness on the streets below.

  5. I love avocado – but have never had avocado toast. That looks fantastic! As does the coffee… but I’m still stuck on the fact that I’ve clearly been missing out on the avocado toast.

  6. Sounds like a great little cafe!

    Another good one in London is Kahaila cafe near Brick Lane/Shoreditch. http://kahaila.com/

    They are non-profit so all of their profits go to charity. Their coffee, tea, and snacks are great, there’s WiFi, and on Wednesday nights it turns into a funky church and worship space. It has a really cool vibe and all of the staff are really nice. I typically go there when in London, but I after seeing this maybe I will branch out to Lavish Habit.

  7. I adore the guinea pig mugs! Looks like a lovely place, Kate. Heading out to Berlin tonight. I do have some special places there already, but can’t remember the names in all cases. One, however, is “Mutter Fourage” (not a typo but world play) in the Wannsee district, a large garden restaurant cum garden center cum organic food market. Very, very cozy with many nooks and crannies to sit and eat healthy food.

  8. Monmouth coffee is delicious. I went to the Monmouth coffee shop right outside the Borough Market just last week. Avocado toast is my one craving I haven’t been able to satisfy here in Alsace! And this cafe looks too adorable for words.

  9. I was just in London a few weeks ago and always look for the quaint lovely independent cafes to have my morning coffee or an afternoon pick me up. It looks fabulous! I will definitely keep this on my list for next year. Thanks!

  10. Ooo looks lovely! Very girly and chic.

    I will definitely have to check it out next time I’m in London. I love a good cafe to sit in and take stock. Afternoon latte breaks are the best!

    Thanks for sharing your discovery ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. The advocate toast looks so good! And the interior is cute, I like it. I t reminds me of some quirky cafes I encountered during my trip to South Korea. There are a lot of cute cafes there ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. A lovely cafe indeed! I discovered some great cafes in Gangtok (Sikkim, India). One particular cafe by the name of Baker’s Cafe is renowned for Kanchenjunga views (world’s third highest mountain peaks). And then there Cacao, which was my personal favorite for its awesome coffee and affordable prices too.

  13. Cute looking place! My all time favourite is Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not for coffee, but for hot chocolate and other chocolatey goodness. I would write a blog post full of praise if I was still there and could take better pictures than what I took when I was there!

  14. Can’t go wrong with Monmouth Coffee! Looks like a fabulous Cafe. That is one thing I have loved about beginning to put down roots in Sydney – finding my favourite spots to keep going back to. The coffee guy at the small cafe around the corner from my work knows my name and greets me warmly – and it feels so good. Familiarity is so nice sometimes.

  15. Great article and beautiful pictures! I’m going to London in September and I’m staying for a couple of months. So i definitely will check out this place. Thanks!

  16. This looks like my kinda place, Kate. And I get what you mean about becoming a regular. Even when I’m just in a city for a week, I’ll usually find a cafe, smoothie shop, frozen yoghurt place, brunch place, insert other food related business, where I can become a regular. It gives me a sense of normality, and teeny tiny roots that can help when I’m moving about a lot.

    BTW, you have to take me here for avocado toast next time I’m in London.

  17. Where is my favorite coffeehouse? South Africa, Sunningdale, in a place called Bread and Butter. I love this post by the way. Few coffee shops offer such charm and personality all in one place, few cater to the natural curiosity of humankind, and it’s so nice seeing one as complete as this one. I’ll have to put it on my list of must sees for sure! Do you have a favorite cafe in Italy by chance? Looking for recommendations, and clearly your taste can be trusted ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Cafes in Italy — or bars, as they are called — are an entirely different breed, Luke. Cappuccino is only a morning drink, and in the afternoon, people walk in for espresso, drink it within five minutes, and leave. I love taking tons of coffee breaks in Italy, but I vastly prefer my leisurely afternoons with a big latte!

  18. I agree! There is something so soothing about having that mid-afternoon cup of coffee to break up your day! That looks like a beautiful spot you’ve found! Next time i’m in London i’ll be sure to check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. So true what you say about developing routines in a new place. I’ve been living in Tijuana three months and when the ladies at the Sunday market automatically knew that no thank you, I do not want chili salt and lime on my fresh coconut, it was a happy day for me.

    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a quaint little cafe yet, but I’ll keep my eye out!

  20. Kate, that cafe looks the perfect blend of whimsical and intimate. I could really enjoy spending some quality down time there. The next time we’re in London, I’m going to make a point of getting at least one cup of Monmouth Coffee, even before we make it to Balham.

  21. Cool! I recently moved to Clapham South, so I’m going to Balham more often now. Didn’t know about this place, so will check it out soon. See if it’s just as good as my (current) favorite place in Balham: M1LK :-).

  22. I’ve just come home to London and this quirky little beaut has jumped up my ‘must visit’ list and I don’t even like coffee…..you had me at Bill Murray:)

    L

  23. Looks like a fun and charming cafe to while away the hours ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the random yet cute personal touches. I’m game for any cafe that makes a good chai latte although when I’m in Paris, it’s a chocolat chaud all the way.

    Here in Pittsburgh my favorite spot is called the Te Cafe. They make a mate latte that is amazing. It also reminds me of the Lavish Habit!

  24. Unfortunately, the cafe is no longer there. Loved their collection of quirky homeware. And when the sun came streaming in to those great big windows…

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