Saturday was yet another cold day in a seemingly never-ending line of cold days. Grey clouds dominated the sky over E17, the sun did not have his hat on, and he me most definitely did not come out to play. This was a day however, that the ever-present clouds could not dampen my mood. Why? because this was the day I got to reacquaint myself with Bestowed Kitchen.
Bestowed Kitchen are the latest residents in Hoe Street Central, the pop up shop in the parade opposite the new cinema. I’m no stranger to this shop, I first visited in 2013 when it was home to Massis Tea. Massis went on to do amazing things after leaving the pop up. They opened a cafe in the West End and they supply their most lovely tea to cafe Indulgence, which is located a little further down Hoe Street. Other residents have included Plant Nation, All You Read Is Love, the House of Hoop and the E17 Designers. I confess though, I have been really looking forward to Bestowed Kitchen taking charge of the shop. Bestowed Kitchen started life in 2014, and since then have been popping up all over Walthamstow at events, festivals and markets. I first tried their food when they had a stall at Beulah Road Market last year, and have since made a beeline for them when ever I see them somewhere. Having them located in one place for a while is nothing but a good a thing.
On Saturday morning I spotted a tweet by the owners, the shop was opening late due to building issues. I had a small panic that they wouldn’t be open for lunch, but I’m sure my concern was only a fraction of the worry the owners experienced. They explained to me that the shutter on the front of the shop wouldn’t open when they arrived to open up. This meant they were late getting in to the shop and didn’t have long to set up for the lunch time rush. It wasn’t noticeable though, the shop looked great and was already busy when we arrived at 12:30. The furniture is a mix of tables, school desks and up-cycled chairs. The shop counter is made out of pallets and scaffolding planks. Jeremy, one of the owners, explained that the counter had been made by a volunteer at the Forest Recycling Project which is based at the Hornbeam Cafe at the other end of Hoe Street. Despite the counters strong construction, I could almost hear it groaning under the weight of the delicious and colourful food displayed on its top.
Pricing is reasonable, a typical plate of food will be a choice of two salads and main course for £8. We went a bit off menu when we ordered though, pretty much having salad tapas. We started with a pea, mint, feta and fennel salad, a cucumber salad, two servings of frittata, and two bottles of ginger beer which was made just down the road in Hackney. We followed this with harissa chicken, lentil and beetroot salad, barley salad and a slice of cheesecake. OK, I know that sounds like a lot of food, but there were two of us, three if you count the dog. Besides, I’d been for a run that morning so I needed to replace my energy, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. The food was delicious, the flavour in the fennel and pea salad was, for want of a better word spectacular.
Despite the stress of the morning, and the fact they were busy, the owners made time to chat with us and other people in the shop. I like talking to Jeremy and Sabrina, they are really passionate and enthusiastic about their business, their food and their customers. They are clearly doing what they love, and loving what they are doing. No wonder they won best new start-up of 2014 in the Waltham Forest Small Business competition last year. The only negative to Bestowed Kitchen taking over the pop up is that they can’t stay for good, their residency ends on the 29th of March. Hopefully at some point in the not to distant future they will find a permanent home, but until then, make sure you visit them before they close. For more information on Bestowed Kitchen, click here.