A traditional family-run café in West Norwood is putting the area on the food map for its delicious, no-frills and now world-class Full English Breakfast.
The Electric Café has been serving south London’s foodies since the 1930s when it was part of Norwood’s parade and better known as the Electric Dining Rooms.
Almost two decades and a change of ownership later, the simple yet sweet diner is not only popular among the locals, it has been ranked by the world’s most famous travel guide’s ultimate eat list.
Lonely Planet ranked the café in Norwood Road an impressive 219th place out of the world’s top 500 eateries – ranging from the streets of Italy and beaches in South East Asia to the mountains of Scandinavia.
Despite the grand title, Stavros Tsoukkas only discovered the good news by chance.
“I had no idea, they didn’t actually contact us. My brother saw it – he was flicking through and his colleague had the book. He saw it in the book and sent me the photo,” the 37-year-old told the Advertiser .
“It’s a family run business but it’s just me and my mum. We work with each other everyday but it’s just the two of us running it – we’re quite well handed.
“We have a picture of the café hanging up which dates back to around 1932 but we think it was built along with the rest of the parade in around 1905.
“Back then it was called the Electric Dining Rooms because the parade was known as the Electric Parade.”
Mr Tsoukkas’ family who are originally from Cyprus took over the café 40 years ago and the team are celebrating hitting nearly half a century this year – so the world class title comes as a pleasant present, he said.
“My dad came over in 1963 and they had another café in Brixton before moving to Norwood,” he added.
The chef who works everyday with his 67-year-old mum, Theodora explains that despite the popularity, the old-school café is in fact only a two-person show.
“It’s a family run business but it’s just me and my mum. We work with each other everyday but it’s just the two of us running it – we’re quite well handed,” he explained.
“We are pretty traditional, our full English breakfast is popular – it includes eggs, Cumberland sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and you can choose between chips, bubble and squeak or hash browns.
“We also serve roast dinners, omelets, sandwiches, rolls and cakes as well.”
However it seems that breakfast is the family’s speciality – if the traditional dish doesn’t take your fancy you can choose from five different varieties, including a vegetarian and American option.
But making it into Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eat List which ranks the world’s top 500 cafés, restaurants and eateries isn’t the family’s only achievement.
Last year The Electric Café was listed as one of Time Out’s top 10 ‘Greasy Spoons’ in London and has graced the likes of Julie Walters during BBC series, ‘My Friend Victoria’ which was aired in memory of the late comedian, Victoria Wood.
And that’s not it – also last year the café was transformed into a catwalk for a Fred Perry fashion show and has been the set of a BBC Online comedy sketch.