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Poplar HARCA Cafés - cafes for the community


Let us introduce you to your soon to be new best friends: Poplar HARCA Café Chefs Ollie and Vanessa.

Ollie and Vanessa will be creating tasty eats daily from St Pauls Way, Bow Brew café and Spotlight youth centre café. You can expect a range of affordable, healthy food options such as the yummy chicken Caesar focaccia or roast veg and hummus sandwich.

“We’ll be making our own bread that you can enjoy with our seasonal soup of the day,” shares Chef Oliver.

Their plans include working collaboratively with the community. If you are a local community gardener you’re encouraged to bring in your grown produce and they’ll purchase it, giving a new meaning from plot to plate. For the new chefs, community cohesiveness is important and they want the cafes to become the hub of the centres. This can’t be done with-out the voices of the community. So please share your thoughts in the short survey. And be sure to visit the cafes to get your resident discount card.

  • Bow Brew Cafe: 83 St Paul’s Way, E3 4AJ, 8:30am – 3:30pm daily.
  • Spotlight Cafe: 30 Hay Currie Street, E14 6GN, Mon-Fri 8am – 3pm.

Happy HARCAWeen  – try making these spooky stuffed peppers and impress your family and guests.


  • 4 small peppers (a mix of orange, red and yellow looks nice)
  • 1 tbsp. veg oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small aubergine, chopped into small pieces
  • 200g pouch cooked rice
  • 2 tbsps. sundried tomato paste
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • basil (bunch), chopped
  • cocktail sticks


  • Cut the tops off the peppers (keeping the tops to one side).
  • Remove the seeds and any white flesh from inside.
  • Use a small sharp knife to carve spooky Halloween faces into the sides.
  • Chop any offcuts into small pieces and set aside.


  • Heat the oil in the pan, and heat the oven to 200C.
  • Cook the onion in the oil for 8-10 mins until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic, pepper offcuts and aubergine and cook for another 10 mins, until the veggies are soft. Add a splash of water if the pan looks dry. Season (salt and pepper).


  • Squeeze the pouch of rice to break up rice then tip into the pan.
  • Add the tomato paste. Stir for a minute or two to warm through.
  • Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and basil.


  • Fill each pepper with the grain mixture.
  • Replace the lids, using cocktail sticks to secure them in place.
  • Put the peppers in a deep roasting tin with the carved faces facing upwards.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 35 mins. uncovered for the final 10 mins.
  • The peppers should be soft and the filling piping hot.