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I am so excited to announce that I will be opening a café in South London on 6th August – this Thursday! A place where people can come and enjoy small plates of food, or buy something to take away if they’re on the go.
It is something I have thought about doing ever since I was a teenager, and certainly pictured it clearly in my mind. But now feels like the right time for this new venture; it’s an opportunity for design and food to come together once again, which is so important to me and excites me!
Some friends of mine – who run a thriving café business – introduced me to Scarlett who owns the art gallery at the Loughborough Hotel in SW9 and has a studio below where she makes beautiful ceramics. At our first meeting back in February/March of this year, I knew something collaborative would happen. Scarlett has a great energy about her! She agreed to rent me the space next to the gallery, where I will run my café independently but still be a part of a creative environment.
We agreed on all the formalities early on, so that all the exciting things could start happening…like the look and feel of the place. There are beautiful big windows and high ceilings, and I chose a classic Farrow & Ball colour for the interior. It’s been great looking for lovely Danish stools and old light shades along with a few bits of Poole china to mix with Scarlett’s own ceramics, so that I have a collection of pieces that complement my style of food perfectly. Scarlett’s made some gorgeous, small blue green bowls which came hot out of the kiln the other day and made me think of soups, salads and Bircher muesli!
As it gets closer to opening day, equipment like the coffee machine has started to arrive and I’ve been choosing my suppliers. Has Bean will be providing the coffee, and it was a hard decision choosing which ones to order from their extensive list! There are so many amazing coffee companies out there, so deciding on the actual supplier was hard too. Scarlett has already connected me with a local lady who has an allotment, so I’m hoping to use some of her produce for my salads and lunchtime food. The bread will be supplied by Bread Bread based in South London, who bake amazing sourdough bread in wood ovens. There will also be a small selection of produce to buy, from suppliers such as Brindisa (Spanish foods) and England Preserves, and over time I’ll be expanding the initial range to include local honey and other produce for the shelves.
The plan is to open for half the week from 8.30am – 5:00pm on Thursdays and Fridays and from 9.30am – 5:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. These days/times may change down the line as there’s flexibility to open on additional days. The space only has a small amount of seating, so there’ll always be something delicious to take away if you can’t eat in.
The idea for Thursdays/Fridays is to offer a more grab-and-go menu, but other dishes too if you want to eat in – so a choice of seasonal salads, freshly made savoury tarts, toasted sandwiches, sourdough toast and jams, and a selection of sweet items from pistachio cake to almond and fruit tarts and freshly-made Madeleines. Hopefully at the weekends customers will have time for a slower-paced brunch, and can enjoy something like poached egg with roasted tomatoes on rye (or with chorizo if preferred) or one of my soups – hot dishes to suit all.
So what does this mean for Baked Salt? It’s business as usual! I will continue to run my outside catering alongside this new venture (hence starting off slowly with café!) and plans for the future include opening the café space in the evenings for dinner from time to time, and to support the gallery as and when they have events to showcase new artists.
It’s certainly been a learning curve along the way but I have a great feeling about what’s happening!