M11, Junction 8; 7 mins
Free WiFi for visitors
Vegetarian or vegan options
The brick and clap-board exterior of Bear & Eden does little to prepare you for the striking beamed ceiling once you’ve ducked through the door. It crowns the newly refurbished and family-friendly café below, set up by a primary school teacher and oil trader couple who were looking for a family-friendly spot to eat with their kids.
The result is a stylish space with a Montessori-style play area at one end, alive with parents, children and locals. There’s a quieter space downstairs for a more grown-up-centred visit, which is conveniently close to the counter from where you can keep yourself in a steady supply of excellent coffee – iced, frothed or straight up.
Food is freshly prepared and supplied by local producers, from the creative scotch eggs (arancini and mozzarella; macaroni cheese) to vegan muffins and falafel wraps.
If you’re early for Stansted flights, or waiting to pick someone up, this is infinitely superior to a bland chain or a sandwich in the short-stay.
Buy The Extra Mile Guide
The Extra Mile: Delicious Alternatives to Motorway Services is your essential glovebox guide to good food on the move. The guidebook is a great gift for motorists and foodies who prefer to avoid motorway services and boring, big-brand food. Find independent cafes, pubs, local coffee and tea shops and lovely farm shops near motorway junctions and main roads. To improve your journey, support small businesses and discover real local flavours, order your copy today (Glovebox Guides edition refreshed for 2022).