Back in June this year I visited Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium – the first and only cat cafe in London – for the second time.
I visited the cafe for the first time earlier this year, and simply couldn’t resist returning to this remarkable little cafe once again, for another dose of good food and a bit of feline-therapy in one of the most unusual places to eat that London has to offer.
For those who have not heard of this curious little cafe before, or read my previous post on Lady Dinah’s, I will explain the premise briefly.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium (located in the bustling district of Shoreditch, East London) is a rather extraordinary cafe that offers customers the rare opportunity to eat, drink and relax in the company of an assortment of adorable and friendly cats.
While there are a number of firm rules in place – cats can not be picked up, no disturbing sleeping cats, no flash photography, and no feeding cats – customers are free to stroke, pet, play with and even groom the cats if they wish.
This type of concept is very popular and common in Asian countries such Japan – where such cafes are known as ‘Neko Cafes’ – but is still quite a fresh and ‘eccentric’ idea over here in the UK.
However quirky or unconventional it may be, it is an idea I am extremely excited to see being adopted here across the pond. It would be simply awesome to see this kind of cafe expand as an industry in the UK, but for now we will have to make do with just this one little gem. And what a wonderful little gem it is.
In a similar fashion to my last visit, things didn’t exactly start as planned.
I do seem to be cursed with bad luck upon stepping across the threshold of Shoreditch – readers of my previous Lady Dinah post will recall how my first visit to this particular corner of London came to a disconcerting start after attracting the unwanted attention of an sliiiightly drugged up guy on a street corner.
Well, this time the mishap in question didn’t involve me being pursued down the street by a high stranger, but instead concerned the fact that my booking for this particular visit had apparently not gone through the booking system, and was not recorded on their list for that day.
I’m not sure why this was. It could be a mistake on their part, or a fault with their online booking system.
It could also just as easily have been me failing to finalize the payment properly when sorting out my booking. Which would probably go a way to explain why I failed to receive my e-ticket. Which, admittedly, probably should have been a bit of red flag in hindsight. Whoops.
Embarrassing planning errors aside, I was very lucky that there was a rare free-slot available that the staff were kind enough to offer to me, which I was incredibly grateful for. They don’t normally do things like that and don’t have to, so it was some real generosity on their part that I really do appreciate.
This time around my designated table was situated on the basement floor (I was on the upper floor last visit), which I was delighted to see had undergone some serious redecoration since I was last there. Not that the decor was at all dull or boring before, but the rooms new look is nothing if not pretty damn cool.
The room has been decked out with a kind of fairytale-forest theme, with scattered Ivy, winding branches, and a series of cat ladders and walkways looming above the customers heads.
This gave the room the pleasing and dreamy effect of some kind of ghibli-esque magical cat-kingdom, and it’s a pretty neat bit of decor which was very much an instagrammer’s dream.
One of the reasons that prompted this particular visit was the news of the arrival of a small group of new kittens at Lady Dinah’s; Victor, Peter…and another kitten whose name I have forgotten and who isn’t listed on the website.
Sorry. But from a human who forgets about 80% of other human’s names after meeting them, remembering 2 out 3 names isn’t bad.
In a rather interesting piece of trivia, little Victor – a very handsome, midnight-black little fella – made his dramatic arrival at the cafe after being literally abandoned on their doorstep.
Why anyone would want to abandon such a gorgeous little guy is beyond me, but at least he was left at the right place, and was quickly snapped up by the cafe as a new addition to their furry family.
And he’s certainly living it up now. The cats at Lady Dinah’s are pretty pampered if nothing else. They are certainly very spoiled by the staff and customers, but when they are as cute as this, how could you possibly resist?
The kittens were all gorgeous but, fresh to the public eye, were understandably still a little wary of people, and kept a cool of distance from their human visitors. However they were still absolutely adorable and were enchanting to watch as they eat, played and dozed.
The rest of the cafe’s feline entourage spent the time in a similar fashion – I unfortunately didn’t have as many good photo opportunities as last time, but I did manage to snap a handful of nice shots during my time there.
Despite the lack of willing photography subjects this time around it was a lovely little visit; it always is. I simply defy anyone to go to Lady Dinah’s and not have a good time.
I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I for one find it impossible to not be happy while in the company of cats. Combine that with great food, lovely surroundings and friendly staff, and you get a truly unmissable experience.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is located in Shoreditch, East London, and can be reached from Liverpool Street Station, which is a 20 minute walk from the cafe.
The booking types vary, but an hour and a half’s general admission costs a very reasonable £6, and bookings can be made either directly at the cafe itself or on Lady Dinah’s Website. Be warned however that this cafe is very popular and for good reason – expect to book well advance!
So whether you are looking for a date spot with a difference, a good place to indulge your inner cat-lady, or simply want to embrace one of the most magical and unusual cafes that London has to offer, then Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is not to be missed!
Do not miss the opportunity to dine at one of the most unique and adorable cafes in London!
You’ll be very glad you did!
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