You wouldn’t necessarily expect Friends House – the central offices of the Quakers in Britain – to stand out as one of the area’s most charming breakfast spots. However, we struck gold on a sun-soaked weekday morning when we discovered their bucolic outside terrace.
The space comes flanked on one side by a patch of pristinely mowed grass, on the other, by the RIBA award-winning Palladian architecture of the 100-year-old building. All of this is interspersed with flower arrangements and banners stating the Quaker’s desire to ‘build a fairer world, led by faith.’
Armed with a pain au raisin, a berry smoothie and a couple of ethically sourced cappuccinos made using Jamaica Blue Mountain beans, we nabbed a table in the building’s calm grounds. We nibbled on our pastries surrounded by the chirpy chatter of Quakers (or ‘Friends’ as they often call themselves), fresh from a meeting, a tutor session or an amble around the bookshop.Despite its location on the notoriously traffic-choked Euston Road, the garden somehow feels more serene with the constant surge of passing traffic; perhaps comparatively accentuating its oasis-like charm. With its proximity to such an emissions-heavy thoroughfare, the Quakers are very keen on making the building as eco-friendly as possible.
Alongside the café, Friends House consists of nearly three dozen meeting rooms, a restaurant and massive auditorium, yet the building is completely sustainable and green. Last year, Carbon Smart awarded a Gold Certificate to the faith group, in honour of the 29% reduction of the carbon footprint at Friends House since 2009.
They managed this impressive eco feat by using 100% renewable energy and creating a zero waste to landfill policy. Something green to contemplate while sipping on a smoothie in one of Euston’s most peaceful, environmentally-conscious hideaways.
Main image: Dan Hall