The Cafe that Rocked
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The Cafe that Rocked

The oldest cafe in south London and a film star too


With its retro 1930s interior and a splash of the sixties for good measure, 'Gambardella Cafe' in Vanbrugh Park, Blackheath, has become a bit of a star in its own right over the years.

Look closer at the 2009 hit comedy 'The Boat that Rocked', starring Bill Nighy and Kenneth Branagh, and ITV drama series, 'The Fixer', and the cafe is there in all its chrome, flesh coloured vitrolite and red and black Formica glory.

In the case of the rocking boat, it's below deck and where they can be seen smoking, drinking and listening to tunes.

Sounds glamorous but what makes places like Gambardella, hailed one of the best vintage formica 'caffs' in London by website Classic Cafes, so special is their ordinariness. A place to be anonymous, watch the world turn, get some good, honest grub. No pretensions.

Ask Jools Holland, who, before moving away, loved nothing more than to pull up a moulded plywood revolving chair at Gambardella's and tuck into egg and toast.

Location: 47-48 Vanbrugh Park, SE3 7AH