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Famously in a hurry (but curiously willing to queue with infinite patience), time is often short for London’s commuters, especially those addicted to the adrenalin of the daily cross-city cycle and coffee. Those keeping pace with both forms of acceleration can thank their lucky stars that Southwark’s Tempo, a hybrid bike-workshop-cafe-restaurant right by Borough tube station down Borough High Street, has the the oil for both your gears and a good day. These guys can fix you breakfast as well as your brakes, serve up lunch and lube, and tune your derailleur while you dig into dinner.
Tempo are bicycle repair specialists with a love for vintage restorations, hard-to-find mint condition parts for like-minded fix-it enthusiasts, and everyday tuneups for the local bike gangs. Their workshop down Southwark’s Borough High Street, right next to the tube station, welcomes all and sundry, from velcro-clad types with monster quadriceps who tackle the daily grind to work as if it were the Tour de France, to that kid with the neon BMX who wanted his steed to jump higher and go faster. It’s locals to this part of London and passers-by like this who’ve first twigged to the fact that Tempo also do a mean breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, with plenty of good hydration and cranked-up coffee that can be enjoyed while waiting for the mechanics to work their magic.
South London’s Tempo is quickly becoming popular among the pedestrian, public transport-using and, god forbid, the car-owning sectors of Southwark society who are simply in search of tasty sources of nutrition, as if walking, sitting, or driving required much energy expenditure. For these non-velocipede pilots, lighter fare like the Tempo fat-free yoghurt pot with fresh fruit, chia and honey plus a San Pellegrino might suffice. For the hardcore bike junkies, we recommend the full English, the homemade pancakes, or the protein-packed omelette. And a whole lot of properly barista-brewed coffee. Lunch and dinner is served from noon here at Tempo’s headquarters, and features a whole lot of British- and Italian-inflected dishes that have pedigree as fine as some of the rare bikes that the crew do up and sell from the same premises. Warm up with a simple leek and potato soup, the porca bruschetta, or a selection of cured meats. Shift gear and cruise confidently through the chicken with farro grains, grilled bavette, tagliata or sea bass fillet. The health-conscious, and there are a lot of them here, might prefer the veggie Nicoise salad with a ginger and parsley dressing, or the goat cheese salad with crostini, pine nuts, and a honey dressing. Glucose can be easily obtained in the form of the house creme brulee, or go for a cheeseboard for a Frenchified finish at the best pit stop down Borough High Street.