“ Upbeat café bar in Mile End district of east London. „
The Fat Cat Café Bar chain currently has 11 restaurants throughout the UK. Our closest one is Bow in the East End of London. We have been going here for nearly 7 years since moving to London. It is situated in a lovely looking old glue factory building very close to Victoria Park in a complex call Bow Wharf which boasts a Fitness First, a Thai restaurant, a sandwich shop, a hairdressers and a new dog accessories shop! Fat Cats (FC) is a cross between a bar and a restaurant with seating at the bar, a selection of tables, both high and low on the main floor, and a raised restaurant area. The furniture is a nice selection with everything from stools to big comfy sofas. The bookcase wallpaper looks great, especially with the wooden floors. The toilets are always in good order and clean. There is outdoor seating at the front and the back of the building for the summer months. There are three large screen TVs for watching sport but they do not always play the volume on them (depends how big the game is). There is usually a selection of newspapers on the bar.
The menu is quite a mixture serving a selection of starters and light bites, all day breakfasts, salads (including Caesar Salad & Beetroot and Hazelnut Salad - mains around £9), burgers (beef, lamb, chicken or vegetable - around £9), platters (meat fish or vegetarian - around £12), pizzas, pasta, healthy options (Grilled Red Snapper - £13 - or Honey & Lemon Chicken - £10) and a selection of desserts (Cheesecake or Sticky Toffee Pudding - £5).
One of my favourites is the Fat Cat burger - a huge burger served in a ciabatta roll topped with bacon, mushroom, onion and cheese sauce and served with chips and coleslaw - great value at £9.95. My husbands favourite is the All Day Breakfast, priced at £7.95 it is great value for the size - bacon, sausages, mushrooms, hash brown, eggs, slow roast tomato, beans and toast. There are also daily lunch and evening specials.
The cocktail list is quite extensive, and they also offer a great selection of beers (bottled and draft) from around the world, cider and wines.
It is a great place to go with friends as it is so relaxed. The music varies and is never too loud. It is a popular place for people meeting up at the weekend before heading into the delights of funky Shoreditch. FC attracts a variety of clientele from students (with the lure of 20% off food and drink all day every day and 2 for 1 on food until 3pm everyday) to young professionals and retired East Enders.
There are various offers on nearly every night. Monday to Thursday offers two courses for £12.95 on selected dishes. Thursday night is Ladies Night offering two courses for £11.95 for a set menu plus a cocktail, £10 bottles of house wine and 2 for 1 cocktails all night. Sundays is all about the Weekend Recovery with FC Bloody Marys 2 for 1 before 4pm. House champagne is on offer for £20 between 12-4. Cocktails are 2 for 1 from 5-8 every day.
The staff are always friendly and attentive, and table service is offered throughout. In all the time we have been there I have only had one bad meal which they were quick to apologise for and did not charge me for. The food and drinks are reasonably priced, especially if you take advantage of one of their deals. All in all is it a great place to go and eat, and one we take friends to for breakfast, lunch or dinner and know we will be greeted with a smile and great service.
Over the last 7 years we have been many times so we have taken advantage of their loyalty card. You receive 1 point for every £ spent, and once you have accumulated over 1000 points you become a platinum member and get 2 point of every £. My husband and I are platinum members several times over! The points can be redeemed for vouchers for a meal or drinks. For example 100 points gets you a bottle of house wine (about £17 value) or a main course and a small glass of wine. 500 points gets you a free 2 course meal for 4 people plus two bottles of house wine - the night we redeemed that voucher was a fun and very cheap night! It is definitely a great incentive to get people to go back, especially as you can collect points even when you just pop in for a swift half. You can also collect points at any of the other FC Café Bars across the country.
The only downside, which they can do nothing about, is that the restaurant area is opposite the weights section of fitness first. It can be quite off putting tucking into a delicious FC burger whilst watching lots of fit people pumping iron! I have learnt to ignore them now, and no longer feel the guilt that I used to, thinking I should really be in there, not in here.......
Fat Cat Café Bar
221 Grove Road
Tel: 0208 9834353
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 11pm
Sunday: 10am - 10pm
Monday - Sunday: 10am to 10pm
Lunch specials Monday - Friday: 10am to 4pm
Evening specials: 4pm to close
Sunday lunch: 12pm to 4pm
April 2013 - the venue is exactly the same but has now been renamed The Bow Wharf Pub & Dining Room.