Sadness over closure of Bliss Café as gentri-fried breakfasts order of the day


Had its chips: Regulars outside Cafe Bliss on Dalston Lane. Photograph: Ella Jessel

“That’s so nondescript!” laughed two school-boys as they walked past the distinctive ‘Hot Meals’ sign above the door of Dalston’s Bliss Café.

Neither its menu nor its signage was sophisticated – but the sudden closure of the mushy-pea green and yellow painted café, where home-cooked food was cheap and the charm came free, has left regulars of the Dalston Lane diner bereft.

When Bliss Café’s 15-year lease on the building ran out, regulars say the landlord did not reopen negotiations with husband and wife team Dudu and Erkan Aksu, known simply as Mary and Ali.

Neighbours describe the café as an “old-timers haven” and have called its closure “one of the true tragedies of Dalston’s regeneration.”

Ronald Foley, 60, who has run The Business Hair Studio next door for 37 years said it would be “sorely missed”. “I’ve been going there since I arrived in 1997. It was just eggs and bacon or eggs and chips but they did things really well.

“Mary had such a lovely rapport with customers- she is a great lady. It’s one of those things – we’re all in the lap of the gods I suppose. They will probably have a well-deserved rest now but it is a big loss.”

Local campaigner Bill Parry-Davies, whose office is down the road, said he would miss Bliss café which he said sold the “Dalston’s best cherry pie served with a lovely smile.”

Tara Cranswick, the director of neighbouring arts organisation V22 used to pop in often for an off-the-menu special- a spicy bean burger with toast and grilled tomato.

She said the café looked after the “lost souls” of Dalston: “We run community events but anything that we could do would have nothing on Bliss. It’s really sad. They were here one day and gone the next. I hope they remember us because we’ll remember them.”

The regulars are calling all Dalstoners and “anyone who has ever enjoyed a Bliss meal” to come to a mass photo-call outside the café at 12pm tomorrow (Friday 30) which they plan to  frame and hand to the couple as a parting gift.