Isla Ray – the coolest place to hit SE8

Deptford Foundry
10 months ago

Located on 37 Deptford High Street, you will come across one of the newest venues of Deptford – Isla Ray. The café/bar offers a relaxed atmosphere within a really cool retro space for people to come together to enjoy some good, honest food.

So, what made owner, Rachael Dalton-Loveland pick Deptford as a home for her venture?

Can you tell us a bit more about Isla Ray and how the company started?

I used to work in film production but after a two-year stint in Melbourne, my passion for doing something different was spurred on by the amazing café and bar scene out there. The independent coffee shops and eateries are so dense and unique that I was inspired to venture into hospitality to bring this vibe back home to London.

This led to the opening of Isla Ray just over 7 months ago. We’ve had a great response from residents, and we’ve enjoyed becoming part of this community, adding to the existing hub of independents.

Where did the retro, tropical vibe inspiration come from?

The inspirations have really stemmed from my own personal taste. I love colour and everything retro so you will find unique pieces dotted about Isla Ray which I have collected from local markets and charity shops. My love for the botanical, tropical vibe comes to life with the many of plants scattered around.

Hopefully what we have created is a relaxed, positive environment to come and enjoy some good food and drink.

What type of exhibitions/events are most popular? What do you have coming up?

As well as a café/bar, Isla Ray also provides a platform for creatives, with art exhibitions to showcase their work and has space to work remotely. We host monthly knitting workshops which are proving popular and, in the mornings, we open for Yoga sessions – the space is really open to the imagination.

We love hosting live music every Thursday which has seen a range of open mic nights, jazz and other local musicians having a chance to perform. At the weekends, we have more of a party scene with DJ sets.

Alongside our existing programme, we are really interested to collaborate with more local charities to host fundraising evenings. Kitchen takeovers is also on our list to offer with supper clubs and local chefs serving up a different array of dishes to try.

What is your favourite item on the menu at Isla Ray?

We offer brunch, lunch and drinks throughout the day, then at 5pm we have a change up of menus with our evening tapas menu. We also host a happy hour on weekdays from 5-7pm.

Our food is simple but delicious and I’d say the most popular dish is the Weekend Big Breakfast or Isla Special – nothing can beat a hash brown after a Friday night out.

Our evening tapas is also really popular which is served every day from 5pm-9.30pm. These are great for sharing over a few drinks to unwind after a day at work. The baked feta and honey roasted squash with flatbread is a personal favourite!

As we make our way towards Spring and the warmer weather, bringing some super fresh and seasonal salads which will include the launch of a salad bar – perfect for a grab and go!

What do you enjoy most about living/ working in Deptford?

Deptford has so much charm, so it seemed the perfect place to start up my business. I love the arty, multi-cultural scene here and thanks to the amazing range of independent businesses, Deptford manages to hold on to its uniqueness and identity which was an important factor to me when searching for a home for my business. I also live above Isla Ray so the area needed a good balance of work vs social – Deptford ticked all the boxes!

Top recommendations for things to do in the area?

There is such a huge range of choice in Deptford so one thing’s for sure is you certainly won’t be short of places to try out. As a proper pub person, I enjoy heading over to the Dog and Bell or Royal Albert in New Cross. There is also some amazing Vietnamese in the area which is always a solid go to but if you are wanting a fancier restaurant then I really rate Marcella who serve authentic Italian food.

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If you fancy living nearby fantastic eateries like Isla Ray and are looking for a vibrant area to start your next chapter then Anthology Deptford Foundry has a selection of one, two and three bedroom apartments, with Help to Buy available. Call today 020 7526 9229 or email