Hard work pays off for Lounge Cafe with Time Out Award success

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:17 16 December 2015

Maria Kuehn and Zina Manda at the Lounge Cafe in Kingsgate Community Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock

Maria Kuehn and Zina Manda at the Lounge Cafe in Kingsgate Community Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock


This small community cafe with a big heart has been winning over Kilburn and West Hampstead residents for two and a half years, says Bridget Galton.

Hard-working duo Maria Kuehn and Zina Manda have won a coveted Time Out award for the best cafe in Kilburn and West Hampstead.

Their Lounge Cafe in the Kingsgate Community Centre serves both grateful artists from the Kingsgate Studios opposite and users of the centre run by Brent Council, some of whom volunteer to help with the enterprise.

And with many of their clients on low incomes there’s a limit to what they can charge which has meant being inventive and clever with flavours - expect coffees for under £2 sandwiches from £2 and breakfasts from £2.75. At £5.50 my indulgent breakfast was one of the pricer items but the pair of perfectly poached eggs on bacon rashers atop Indian potato cakes with a zesty coriander onion and cucumber.

“We’ve been here two and a half years and know everyone by name,” says Kuehn who is also a food blogger (mindingbellieswell.blogspot.com)

The artists from Kingsgate Studios give us handmade pots and mugs as a thank-you.”

With a daily soup and a special such as lamb and pistachio patties with lentils, and homemade cakes, Zina’s flourless chocolate is a local legend - she adds “We try not to have waste, we can’t afford to throw things away. It’s a labour of love but I am Polish so compelled to feed people whether they are hungry or not.”

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