Working from home can often mean you are distracted by ‘life admin’ so a cafe with delicious cake and wifi is often a welcome second office for freelancers.

We decided to survey the local freelancer community to find out where their favourite places to work are in Crystal Palace. We Launched our blog on Friday with a Q&A from the winner – The Paxton Centre. Coming in closely behind, in second place, was Dalhousie!

We love the vibrant independent scene in Crystal Palace and as such we want to use our blog to highlight local business. We are also curious to know what motivated them to set up and what keeps them motivated.

” every aspect of the experience must be a treat”.


You can find Dalhousie on Westow Street. Their philosophy is simple: every aspect of the experience must be a treat. It’s not enough to serve the best cakes, or the freshest coffee. It’s about excellence of service, fresh flowers on the table, the comfort of a wood burning stove, the atmosphere. Dalhousie is a place to relax and let the world go by. Their chocolates are hand made by a family business in Brighton using traditional copper pans; their Victoria Sponge is finished with Wilkin’s Tiptree jam; their cakes are freshly homemade every day. Upstairs on a week day you can often find Laptops lined up and people quietly tapping away over a coffee.

Q1. Hi Derek tell us a little about you?

A1. I was born and bred in Toronto Canada, and moved to London 3 years ago. I’m a foodie who appreciates global cuisine. My favourite cocktail is a Negroni and I also cannot say no to champagne or English Sparkling!

Q2 .When did you first conceive the idea of Dalhousie and how long did it take you to get it off the ground?

A2. Prior to moving from Toronto, I decided to follow my life’s passion and dream and open my first cake and coffee shop in the heart of Crystal Palace. The entire process took exactly nine months. The building dates back to the early 19th Century, and was once the local dairy shop.

Q3. What is a typical day for you in your business?

A3. No one day is ever the same! My time can be split between spending time in the store with our amazing customers. Baking at home everyday and most importantly I am constantly looking for inspiration and new ways to enhance and bring a “sense of pleasure” to our customer’s experience.

Q4. What was the best advice you were given when starting up?

A4. Stay true to yourself. Always believe in your brand and surround yourself with people who believe in your brand.

Q5. What is your top tip for motivating yourself to keep focussed and grow the business?

A5. The philosophy behind Dalhousie is that every aspect of the experience must be a treat.

I must be living my best life, gaining customer satisfaction and building a brand that I can be proud of and that focus keeps me going.

Are you a local freelancer who loves to work from Dalhousie? Tell us why you like it and which of the cakes you can’t work without!

You can find Dalhousie here:

1 Westow Street, Crystal Palace. SE19.





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