A charming café in one of London’s best places to live, Forest Hill, is capturing attention not only for its delectable treats but also for its unique approach to sustainability and community engagement.

Aptly named Canvas and Cream, this cozy spot on London Road is making waves by using upcycled furniture donated by locals and is one of the many reasons Forest Hill has been rated one of the best spots to live in London.

The Sunday Times’ judges have visited all the London locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street, and rated Forest Hill as one of the best places to live.

Owner of the café, Cem Sabri Pozam, took over Canvas and Cream in 2019, and has been developing quirky concepts all over the world, including Dubai, the US and Switzerland.

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“Canvas and Cream has been designed as an upcycled, quirky, family oriented space that combines food and art”, Cem told the News Shopper.

Behind the scenes, the cafe houses not only a bustling kitchen but also a hidden gem: an art gallery and multiple art studios.

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Here, local artists are invited to unleash their creativity and collaborate on various projects, such as painting, sculpting, and pottery.

Cem said: “It’s an all-in-one place for the community, where people can have their lunch, look at the art, talk to artists, and have a massage in our therapy room.

“All of our furniture has been given to us by customers – all the chairs, floorboards, tea cups, and tables do not match.

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“Our furniture is upcycled too, like our flooring – this is taken from Sydenham High School, and the cakes are done by the staff here too.

“We try not to buy stuff from the big suppliers, but from the local community itself, so we can give back.”

Since its opening, Canvas and Cream has become a beloved gathering spot for residents of all ages, and 80 per cent of customers are made up of people who visit regularly, including young mums with families.

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Whether it's savouring a freshly brewed cup of coffee, indulging in hot food dishes, or admiring the latest art exhibit, visitors have the opportunity to feel inspired by the cafe's welcoming atmosphere and commitment to sustainability.

What truly sets Canvas and Cream Cafe apart is its commitment to showcasing and supporting local talent. Adjacent to the art studio is an art gallery where residents can exhibit their artwork for all to admire.

Cem added: “The art studios offer a space to do oil painting, glass making or digital art.

“There’s two festivals each year when the road behind us is closed off and we promote art work to the local community.

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“Our building is very old, and we don renovations section by section.

“Then our artists donate their valuable pieces to us, and we put them permanently in our café.”

Other locations named by The Sunday Times were Clerkenwell, EC; Crouch End, N8; Highams Park, E4; Little Venice, W2; London Fields, E8 and Wimbledon Village, SW19.

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As Canvas and Cream continues to thrive, it serves as a shining example of how the small businesses in Forest Hill have made a big impact and helped towards it being one of the best places to live.

With its upcycled décor and dedication to the arts, this Forest Hill gem is proving that good taste goes hand in hand with goodwill.