As of this week (22/04) the iconic British cold brew, Sandows London, will be available to purchase outside of the capital.
Three locations across the country will stock the drink; Water Lane Coffeehouse in Canterbury, The Pear Cafe in Bristol and Hoxton North in Harrogate. Nationwide distribution is available through Turners Fine Foods, also. Australian-born Hugh Duffie is one half of the increasingly popular London brand. “It’s going to be awesome to finally be available outside of London,” he said, “After a successful year last year, it feels great to kind of grow out of it [London].”
Admittedly, the word ‘successful’ is a modest representation of the last 12 months that Hugh and his business partner, Luke Suddards, have had. In February they launched an equity-based crowd funding campaign via Crowdcube, reaching 124% of their target £100,000 in just 53 hours. Hugh explained that in just 48 hours they had sent out over 100 copies of their business plan: “It was a crazy couple of days, and a bit of a strain on our internet! What was most surreal was that some people were investing without even seeing our business plan, I mean that’s just awesome.”
Most recently Luke & Hugh launched a tasty collaboration with Fourpure Brewery. The coffee pale ale, Morning Moon, was premiered at Fourpure Brewery HQ last Saturday (18/04), selling over 50 litres in just four hours. Their exploration into the boundaries of cold brew will continue at this years London Coffee Festival, where they will be serving both the nitrogenated version of their cold brew (currently available on draught at White Lyan, Hoxton Road) as well as cold brew G&Ts.
To see a full Sandows stocklist, click here. For tickets to this years London Coffee Festival, click here.
On 18 February Busaba Eathai will celebrate their 15th birthday by opening their new flagship store in the heart of Shoreditch, London. The modern Thai eatery’s twelfth branch will open its doors on Bethnal Green Road for service at midday, boasting a ‘creative and regularly changing’ menu from Executive Chef Jude Sangsida.
Busaba regulars needn’t fear, as classics including Thai calamari and sen chan pad thai will remain on the menu alongside newer dishes, like Thai roti wraps and chilli beef rice.
The new location, spread across two floors and accommodating up to 164 covers, represents the group’s evolution, said Busaba CEO Jason Myers. “This launch marks a pivotal moment in the Busaba Eathai story. Our new site here in Shoreditch brings together all of the magic of its predecessors as well as representing our evolution as we celebrate our 15th birthday.”
A unique feature to the Busaba Shoreditch branch will be the new Thai Kinnaree Bar (pron. Khin-NAH-rah). During the week the bar will host diners for lunch, with a number of new Thai-inspired cocktail offerings. On Friday and Saturday nights visitors can expect to hear music from the resident Hoxton Radio DJs.
As part of their fifteenth birthday, Busaba Eathai will be hosting 6-weeks of free Sookjai (‘happy heart’) events. Yoga sessions, meditation classes and wellbeing talks will all be included.
I wrote the first post of this blog during my time at a very special bakery. At the end of each dough shift I would walk home up a steep and wet Forest Hill Road – tired, covered in flour, but inspired. Brick House bakery was an inspiring place to be, and an environment that I doubt I will come across again in it’s entirety.
I have so far met two kinds of baker: he who bakes with his hands, and he who bakes with his heart. In December last year I was lucky enough to spend two weeks working with the latter of the two, Fergus Jackson and his team, in an industrial unit in Peckham.
I started learning from the second I tied my apron, and continued to do so right through until I hung it up again on my last day. I began to gather little gems of information given to me every shift, and before I knew what was what I had a treasure chest. “When you fold the dough, pick it up as you would a book, and try not to claw at it with bent fingers” said Julia, a Canadian who had been baking with Fergus since Brick House opened in the summer of 2012. Passing comments like this may not have seemed much to the bakers at the time, but collectively they have changed the way I work with bread.
Every baker had contact with the dough from start to finish, with absolute minimal involvement from machinery. All senses were engaged in monitoring the dough’s progress, and making alterations in the method where needed. Without realising it I was learning something that no book could ever teach me: bread sense.
The slow-fermented loaves were baked daily to a standard that was dangerously close to perfection, both in taste and aesthetic. When I wasn’t baking I was laughing, and at no point did I want to be learning what I was learning anywhere else in the world. Almost all of the bakers previously had careers in other trades, but had turned their hands to baking. This communal choice meant that there was an extremely high standard of passion and enthusiasm. Standing at the dough bench shaping loaf after loaf was where they wanted to be, and this created an incredible environment to work in.
I was taught the importance of temperature, technique and time at Brick House, all of which have made me a better baker, and have given me more confidence when I bake at home. More importantly, I witnessed the importance of bread. As cliche as it sounds, bread does bring people together. It’s the building block of communication, it speaks no language and can be shared by anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Seeing people visit the bakery while we were at work, in hope that there might be a loaf left from the last bake, proved to me its importance.
Fergus and his team, whether they would like to admit it or not, are changing the face of bread in London. They bake honest, wholesome and no-nonsense produce, and do so with a laugh and a smile that makes your loaf taste all the better for it.
My notebook had only ever been occupied by my timetable and scrawls of shorthand practice, but by the end of the summer it was brimming with formulas, figures and dough schedules.
What I needed to learn now didn’t lay on pages or on blogs or forums, only within a bakery, amongst mixers and dough benches. It was only here that I could pick up the priceless nibs of information that experience with the dough can teach. My only problem now lay in what I had experienced already. My time at Pump Street Bakery had left an impression on me for better and for worse. I now knew just how good bread could be, and wherever I went to learn next it was going to be hard to settle for anything less than that.
After a handful of e-mails, phone calls and a short bout of man flu, I had managed to arrange some time in Borough Market’s brand new bakery and bread school: Bread Ahead. I knew that bakers Matthew Jones & Justin Gellatly (inventer of the St John doughnut) were leading the bread side of things and despite the short time I would be there, I knew I was in for a real treat. Excited, nervous, and a little daunted – I packed my bag and boarded the train to London.
My alarm rang at 4am the next morning, notifying me of the time rather than waking me. I had little sleep whilst trying to recount everything I had learnt so far, so as not to appear (as much of) an idiot amongst the bakers I would be working with the next day. I wrapped up and made my way through the dark and empty streets of sleeping London. In the shadow of Southwark Cathedral I found the bakery, a wide glass fronted building oozing warm light and a sensuous smell into the surrounding dark streets.
I was expecting to be shown the sink and broom, but after a brief tour I was put to work on their famously delicious bread pudding, cutting up the (very few) loaves left from the day before. “Nothing is ever wasted here!” Matt exclaimed.
Every time a new loaf was pulled from the oven Justin would bring it over to me and explain the scoring technique, the flour blend used, the hydration and how long it had been rising the night before.”Real bread should only ever be scored with a razor blade, and baked with a crust that makes your gums bleed,” Justin said, knocking the side of a white sourdough he was holding.
Gradualy the Shard lit up in front of me as commuters arrived one by one, all peering through the glass front of the bakery weary-eyed. Once the last loaves had been baked we began to pull a tower of proving baskets from the fridge, all waiting to be filled with today’s dough.
Justin had a strange and unique way of teaching, one that has stuck in my mind ever since. Earlier on in the day I had mentioned that I was relatively inexperienced in shaping, and was expecting little or no contact with the loaves that day. But, as the huge tubs of dough made their way to the bench Justin summoned me over and put me to work shaping the boules.
He watched on and would say nothing, which after 3 or 4 loaves began to concern me. Then he would stop and ask why I was shaping it that way and what I wanted the loaf to look like at the end – something I had never particularly considered before. I quickly lost the closed-mindedness I had arrived with, and instead of just following orders I started to think of the effects that my actions were having on the bread.
The day ended as quickly as it had started and before I knew it I was on my way home, back to the pile of textbooks and deadlines that awaited me. Over the course of the next two months between lectures, seminars and inconvenient library sessions, I would bake when I could.
Days were dedicated to books, and nights were dedicated to bread. One batch at a time I was getting closer to the loaf I was after. This became a regular routine until one day in November I received an email with the title: ‘When can you start?”