We're creating WALNUT, a cafe and dining room in Finsbury Park, north London situated on the corner of John Jones' The Arts Building. Operating seven days a week, WALNUT will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner - except Sunday evening when we will close - everyone needs a break right!
When I walked pass the WALNUT site in the new year and saw it was empty I gave the the landlords a call and, after sending in an email and covering letter about my ideas for the site, I couldn't believe it when they called me back straight away. After looking for the perfect site for my business for some time with little success I was on the verge of giving up but this seems just perfect and, as the team at John Jones liked my ideas, after a few meetings a lease agreement was made.
I have already raised the funds for the basics but I now need help to meet the costs incurred with fitting out the kitchen and dining room. As the building is fairly new, it is a shell to fill and equip. The kitchen doesn't currently exist and we need to install:
- extraction and gas supply £15,000
- combi oven £4,500
- electrics £3,000
- plumbing £2,500
- Safety flooring £2,000
- decorating and carpentry £3,000
This is quite a list and, despite it sounding a lot, it is quite small in comparison to a lot of restaurant budgets. We are recycling as much as possible, for example, using parts of the existing counter to make tables, using existing masonary to build the floor for the cooking range. Myself and my partner have done a lot of the work ourselves with the help of her dad and his wife, it's hard graft but really satisfying watching it develop, Obviously there is work that we can't do and for that we need to enlist the help of and pay professionals.
The cafe will serve breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday - a breakfast menu of classics, health kicks or simply a coffee. The lunch menu will be a feast of seasonal healthy salads, paired with a choice of tarts, fritattas or additions such as free-range honey and mustard roasted chicken, grilled mackerel fillets and horseradish dressing.
Everyday we will offer a homemade soup, a daily meat joint for a hot sandwich/wrap - for example slow roasted spiced shoulder of lamb with mint and yoghurt dressing. Saturday and Sunday we will run an all-day brunch menu to help you celebrate the weekend - reading the papers, feeding the kids and no washing up to do!
In the evening the dining room will come to life! A warm, welcoming and relaxed space with a seasonally-led menu of British and European dishes, a well thought-through wine list to suit all budgets, cocktails and craft beers. Plus a couple of regular beers for those who don't do craft - I know a few!
We have plans to invite guest chefs for Supper Club nights and the occasional guest DJ to bring a new mood to dinner! We aim to be as sustainable as possible supporting local suppliers and using British ingredients along with all our wines being sourced from within the EU to help keep our carbon footprint low.