Look mum no hands! – London (UK)

This is what happens when three bike obsessed mates open a coffee shop

  • opening times:
    Mo - Fr: 7:30 - 22, Sa: 9 - 22, Su: 10 - 22
  • wifi:
    Yes
  • urls:
    FacebookWebsiteTwitter
  • price check:
    Espresso: £2 / Flat White: £2.60
  • machine:
    Kees van der Westen Mirage
  • coffees on offer:
    1 Espresso blend and various single origins by Square Mile
  • milk:
    Yeo Valley

Having spent many years working for the likes of Groupon and Sweetdeal and being quite familiar with small to medium businesses, I know that people often struggle to find good names for their ventures. Unfortunately some aspiring entrepreneurs have so little creativity that they call their businesses things like: “Cupcakes etc…”, “Nails & Co” or “Sombrero”. Luckily the world of coffee is a bit more artsy fartsy which often results in slightly more thought through business names, concepts and collaborations. But if I had to pick one place that takes the cherry so far, then it’s East London’s “Look mum no hands!”

When I first read about this place in Time Out London, I was like: “Is this for real? How awesome is this, ha ha ha!” I think it amused me so because I actually didn’t really get what the name stood for. I knew they did coffee and something with bikes but where did this whole “no hands” thing fit in? Inexplicable. Eventually I was released from my misery by manager Chloe who told me that “look mum no hands!” is what you say when you’re a kid and you’re trying to impress your parents by riding your bike with your hands in the air. Even if you can only do it for 4 seconds before falling flat on your nose. Ok, I guess I never got to say that since I grew up speaking other languages and my brain quite frankly didn’t connect the dots. THIS A VERY RARE OCURRANCE.

You really can't miss this place

You really can’t miss this place

The place itself is very spacious and inviting. There are huge street-facing windows, a lovely little courtyard with picknick benches and a colourful selection of bike gear in the style of “Look mum no hands!” next to an Espresso bar and some tasty looking pies and salads. This was also the first place where I had encountered a Kees van der Westen Mirage, which in my view is one of the most beautiful Espresso machines out there.

“Look mum no hands!” was founded by old buddies Lewin, Matthew and Sam, all of whom – wait for it – are massive bicycle nuts. Sadly none of them was there that day and the little bike repair shop had already closed. It would have been great to see early morning commuters popping in for a quick fry up, coffee and bike service on their way to work. I like the fact that their selection of coffee, food and drink is strongly focused on artisanal craft. Ideally everything is made by hand, despite the name suggesting otherwise.

Since opening this location near Barbican they have also opened a second one in Hackney, which according to Chloe is a little bit more like this one used to be before it became really busy. Right now they’re also doing a little collaboration with the Southbank Festival where LMNH is operating a small bike shop-cum-cafe. For all of their Espresso-based drinks they work with prolific London coffee roaster Square Mile whose Red Brick blend forms the backbone of all their coffees.

People working on their laptops or just taking in the action outside

People working on their laptops or just taking in the action outside

One thing they don’t do here is slow coffee, which is a shame as it would be the perfect coffee method for anyone who is coming in to get his wire-donkey fixed up while maybe also having a little nibble to eat (wire-donkey is a literal translation of Drahtesel – which is a funny German word for bike). If coffee is not your thing or you’re popping in for after work drinks then make sure you try some of their carefully selected artisan beers. On the menu, amongst many others: “Beast of the deep”, “Gamma Ray” and “Black Betty”. Mint!

The selection of salads and the Espresso bar, followed by the repair shop

The selection of salads and the Espresso bar, followed by the repair shop

A delicious pie and lentil salad

A delicious pie and lentil salad

Some lekker pastries

Some lekker pastries

Two young friends repairing their bikes

Two young friends repairing their bikes

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What our reader said

duncan said:

I always remember the first time I came in here, and sat having coffee next to someone straightening spokes in a wheel, no avoiding that cafe / bikeshop crossover!


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