By Belinda Evans
Just before lockdown, way back in early 2020, there was a lot of changes being made to the row of shops at the bottom of Perry Vale near the old fire station. The existing café closed and then the barbers! We were worried, were we losing all our well-loved local shops and amenities? Was Perry Vale going to turn into a desolate row of closed shop fronts? But luckily this was not the case. All this change was part of a fabulous redevelopment.
The owner told us that the process took over two years for everything to go through needing to organize the moving of the existing café and negotiating change with the barbers. On 1st January 2020 building work could finally start! The builders worked tirelessly developing the new sites. So, on 15th March 2020, Forest Cafe Bistro opened and much to the delight of the locals it was great from the off. It was busy, vibrant, the food was great, and the atmosphere was buzzing.
But this soon turned to total disappointment when only five days later the national lockdown was announced, the Forest Cafe Bistro, like all establishments was forced to close its doors.
It must have been heart-breaking for the owners. Forest Café Bistro was just finished after months of long days and late nights of building, redeveloping, moving, fitting, and setting it all up ready to open, for this to be so short lived. I imagine the owners thinking that all the building work could have been done in lockdown after all, and that last push for opening and getting finished which involved many long hours could have been carried out in the months of lockdown in a much more leisurely pace.
As a new business the Forest Café Bistro wasn’t ready for providing take-aways or online delivery. But it was also a good opportunity to investigate how to do this so lockdown and enforced closure did not deter the Forest Cafe Bistro. It set up online deliveries and offered take away dishes and coffee which made a real difference to all of us stuck at home and if you were like me − so bored of the challenge of shopping, cooking, and trying to balance this with working from home. To be able to grab a coffee or a tasty chicken shish wrap, that someone else had made, was a delight.
And the alterations and improvements did not stop during the enforced closure. The owners took the opportunity to create a lovely outside area for dining alfresco. A mural was painted on the outside wall so that even if we couldn’t travel abroad, we could have a Mediterranean breakfast and imagine we are dining in an exotic location. Planters and conifers were put up outside too so that the ever-noisy traffic from the cars and buses travelling on Perry Vale were masked from us all.
But what about the menu? The food is great − very fresh, fabulous range from full breakfasts, to pancake stacks to wraps, hot lunches and so much more (watch out for the size of the liver and bacon dinner − its enormous). The aim of the bistro is to provide tasty, good value dishes for locals and workers. It’s a varied menu but all such good quality and fabulous portion sizes. The healthy breakfast options have become very popular indeed as well as the grilled chicken, or falafel wrap. The charcoal dishes have a unique taste of Turkey − try the lamb shish or the lamb chops. They also serve Efes beer which on a hot day goes down especially well. I must mention too the crockery − all sourced from Turkey and of such lovely quality.
A Mediterranean breakfast a halloumi wrap and a cold Efes beer alfresco in Perry Vale what could be better? Its open seven days a week so what are you waiting for?
04 April 2022
Forest Cafe Bistro − Perry Vale
By Belinda Evans