Bella Saltiel meets Faisal Miah, the man behind Walthamstow’s unique café, as part of our Shop St James Street Initiative…
Faisal Miah wasn’t expecting to start a hospitality business but, working in the City for a multinational company that kept EST hours, he was rarely at home in the evening. Starting a café venture offered a way out of endless night shifts, and the chance to spend more time with his family.
That’s when the idea for Querky Café was born. Faisal envisaged a café that serves the community. So far, he has managed to achieve his vision by creating an inviting and friendly space, with a funky interior that attracts families, teenagers, groups of friends, and just about everybody else.
Querky Café, on St James Street, has a large menu with an array of hearty foods, including burgers, full breakfasts, pancake stacks, vegetarian and vegan options.
There is also an extensive Chai Tea menu that includes Kashmiri Pink Chai: a speciality tea made by brewing green tea leaves and baking soda, then mixing with milk, resulting in a dusty pink colour. It’s worth visiting Querky just to try this hard-to-come-by beverage.
The Chai menu reflects Faisal’s Bangladeshi background, where Chai was a staple drink in his family home. Nowadays Faisal is a big coffee fan, which is why Querky also has its own house roast blend of Ethiopian, Indian and Indonesian coffee beans, to try in-venue and available to buy at the counter to take home.
To keep Querky inclusive, Faisal’s menu is Halal. An intentional choice because, although he is not specifically targeting the Muslim community, he is a practicing Muslim himself – and has experienced being unable to eat at cafés he would’ve loved to try. With a sizeable Muslim community here in Walthamstow, he wants to make sure that at Querky, no one feels left out.
During lockdown, Faisal opened up two more branches: one in Forest Gate and the other in Shadwell. He says he’s proud of what he has managed to achieve – despite ever-changing restrictions and the overarching fear that they might’ve been forced to shut for good.
Opening two more branches proved – to himself – that by sticking to a concept that offers a little bit of something for everyone, he is able to serve three unique and diverse communities.
Currently, customers receive 10% off their first order and 20% off every fifth order. It makes Querky Café a hit for people looking for something tasty to eat, somewhere friendly to sit – and to make a small saving, too.
To learn more, visit Querky Café’s website