Showing posts with label coffee shop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee shop. Show all posts

07 September 2021

Marvellous Greens & Beans

By Nicola Johnson

Opening a new business is a risk at any time. Some would say opening a business in the height of a pandemic and the middle of a lockdown is not just risky, it is crazy. Yet this is what three guys from South East London did. And over a year later, Marvellous Greens & Beans has become part of the fabric of Honor Oak Park.

Marvellous Greens & Beans are business partners Mat, Mattia and Berouz. Now in their early 30s, they are childhood friends. Mat and Mattia met as toddlers, then when Mat met Berouz at college, he introduced him to Mattia and the trio was formed.

They agree that growing up in South East London can be challenging for young men, but with their solid friendship and the values instilled in them by their families, they kept out of trouble. They fondly recollect hopping into their car for mini-adventures, driving for miles and parking up to embark on hikes through woods to find lakes and other landmarks they’d pinpointed on Google maps. Even back in those days, they would excitedly discuss going into business together, mulling over gaps in the market and Unique Selling Points, but their ideas never quite translated into actions and they each embarked on their separate careers.

Mat studied business, moving into hospitality and building a CV packed with managerial experience at London hotels. Meanwhile, Berouz worked his way up to managerial positions in the short-term rentals industry and Mattia worked for 10 years for an autism charity. Whilst on their individual career paths, Mat and Berouz started families and the trio remained firm friends. Then, in early 2020, Covid-19 struck and Mat and Berouz lost their jobs in the hard-hit hospitality sector. Although Mattia’s job was not affected, he was on hand to support his long-time friends, and the trio came together and reframed the pandemic challenges as an opportunity to finally fulfil their childhood dream of going into business together.

Passionate about great coffee, their aspiration was to open a coffee shop. But they realised the market was saturated and that it would be difficult to come up with a concept that stood out. They were attuned to the collective desire, resonant at the start of the first lockdown, to support communities and individuals facing restrictions and isolation, and the idea of a bespoke fruit and veg box delivery service was born. They then decided to open a shop too and invest in a top-notch coffee machine in a nod to their original intention.

When the unit on Brockley Rise came up, they jumped at the opportunity — they’d seen how Honor Oak had transformed over recent years and they instinctively felt it was a great community to invest in. It took just two weeks from getting the keys to open their doors, doing the entire fit-out themselves whilst being welcomed by locals passing on their daily lockdown walks, who’d heard about the shop via street WhatsApp groups and community Twitter accounts.

They quickly established themselves as a business selling good quality fruit and veg at competitive prices and, of course, great coffee. But it’s their congeniality and personal touch that makes them really stand out. When you visit Marvellous Greens & Beans, you feel amongst friends. The boys say it was important to them to place their personal values at the heart of the business, and they’ve done just this.

Touching stories abound of them surprising customers with impromptu deliveries or complementary coffees when they’ve heard that someone’s experiencing a challenging life event. Involvement in community initiatives has been a priority from the outset — they donate to FareShare, are in partnership with Lewisham Food Bank, fundraised to provide fruit to Stillness School pupils, and give out free fruit during the morning school run. Their creativity was showcased when they organised fun, interactive window displays and activities at Halloween and Christmas, to the delight of their younger customers.

Another Unique Selling Point is their fruit and veg box delivery service, which differentiates itself by its flexibility, again reflecting Marvellous Greens & Beans’ commitment to personalised customer service. They cater for weekly subscribers and one-off purchases and provide customers with as much freedom as possible — you can choose whatever you want, however you want it, with next day delivery for orders placed by 10pm.

Going into business with friends is undoubtedly challenging, but these guys have the most solid of friendships and an impressive ability to transmute challenges into growth opportunities. And growth is the name of the game for Marvellous Greens & Beans — with the opening of their second shop on Grove Vale in East Dulwich on 1 July, we ask them where they see Marvellous Greens & Beans in 5 years’ time. They say the dream would be to have at least a couple more shops, with a family of staff that embraces the trio’s ethos, whilst expanding their uniquely flexible delivery service beyond South East London and continuing to be involved in community projects.

Marvellous Greens & Beans is open weekdays from 8am to 7pm, and on weekends too. Next-day delivery is standard for all orders placed by 10pm.

72 Brockley Rise, SE23 1LN
Twitter: @MarvellousBeans

Pantry, 14 Perry Vale

By Rob Owen

Opened in April on Perry Vale, Pantry is a bright and airy produce shop and coffee bar run by husband and wife team Niya and Septembre.

Offerings include seasonal British produce from London and the South East. There's a vibrant vegetable selection and daily-fresh doughnuts and pastries, along with a range of natural wines. Excellent coffee comes courtesy of Herne Hill roasting company Press.

Septembre is working up a schedule of collaborations with other local outfits, starting with a pop-up oyster bar from Rocks Oysters in Dulwich. Details of these events are shared on Pantry's Instagram feed.
Pantry is open weekdays from 8am, with late opening until 10:30pm each Wednesday through Saturday — perfect both for your morning coffee or evening purchase of a great bottle of wine.

14 Perry Vale, SE23 2LD
Instagram: pantry_foresthill

24 February 2014

February Newsletter: The Montage

A new arrival at 33 Dartmouth Road, The Montage is true to its name - a hotchpotch of cafe, antiques shop and art gallery.

Heading for tea and cake one Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with a room full of enticing shelves and tables stacked with eye-catching things to see. These ranged from old Ordnance Survey maps rolled up into two umbrella stands, to some bookends constructed from vintage Kellogg's cornflake packets, and a old-fashioned blue enamel pan stand that with some love would look quite happy again. Another wall held a beautifully arranged display cabinet with second-hand hardback books and small dolls in national costume - odd but somehow entirely at home in their setting.

Once I'd been persuaded to stop looking at all these intriguing things, it was time to eat - although there were more goodies to discover, through the rooms and down the stairs - leather armchairs, formica tables, stools, wooden furniture all ready for upcycling, so we made quite slow progress to our table! The Montage, it turns out, is a small warren of different spaces. There are a couple of rooms at the back (one wallpapered with those OS maps we'd found - what a brilliant idea) where you can sit and eat.  Beyond these, if the sun's shining, there's a peaceful small garden with tables and chairs, and a dog bowl for canine companions. The garden's newly planted but looks set to become a little green haven, edged by a fence with flowers growing wild on the other side. When we were there, a couple had ensconced themselves at a table spread with books in the garden and another man was inside working on his laptop - very tranquil.

In addition, they have devoted a whole room to a children’s play area which means kids are well catered for too. It's downstairs so ideal as it's out the way and parents don't need to worry about their kids disturbing other customers. The room is filled with a variety of toys which should keep little ones occupied for a while!

In the main café area there was a very inviting selection of homemade cakes and biscuits on the counter. We sampled a fresh scone with a generous dollop of cream and jam in the middle, and a delicious square of summer berry cake (though the lemon drizzle did also look very tempting). They have proper coffee and tea including ten different kinds of herbal tea, which the lady behind the counter patiently listed for me! Plus the tea comes in individual teapots.

After tea, it was time to investigate the art gallery upstairs. There's a good selection of art scattered about the rooms, but in the gallery space there's a bigger exhibition of work by a single artist which tends to change every month.

If you're wandering along Dartmouth Road in search of somewhere new to explore - and if you love St David's, Canvas and Cream, Doopo Doopo and Aga's Deli - then this is definitely a place to add to your list. There's a lovely unhurried atmosphere for reading, working, and meeting with friends, in between poking around for treasures. I'll be going back for some of those maps…

Review provided by Catherine Wood

09 April 2013

On the Hoof - Coffee Station - Champagne Reception

Celebrate On the Hoof’s launch of its brilliantly local cups at a champagne reception and learn from local expert.

Did you know over 5-million people travel through Forest Hill and Sydenham stations each year? Or that Rolf Harris and Bill Wyman once lived in SE26? We learned these fun snippets from On the Hoof’s new takeaway cups, which are packed with local facts and insights.

On the Hoof’s owner Ela Mundy reasons the redesign makes sense all round, “Our cups are a new and different concept as they literally talk about the local area. Each cup is full of facts about Forest Hill, Sydenham, Crystal Palace and Catford. On the Hoof’s sense of belonging means we are advertising our areas on our cups. People make a point of telling us the cups are great and have inspired them to look into local history, or that they had no idea certain events took place where they live. We also wanted our cups to be interesting — it’s slightly boring to look at a big logo on the train when you have nothing to read!”

Sydenham resident Ela has built a loyal customer base at each of her superior coffee kiosks and was the first company to bring freshly ground coffee and expert barista skills to Forest Hill in 2001. Since then, On the Hoof has grown to provide a second kiosk at Forest Hiill and further kiosks at Sydenham and Shortlands. Gourmet sandwiches are made daily on site and patisserie is delivered from local artisan bakers. Even the tea is sourced from Imporient, a specialist tea merchant based in Sydenham. All of Ela’s eight staff are local residents who are trained to provide a personal service to customers, even coming to know regulars by name and coffee preference!

Ela herself says, “I’ve always listened to my customers and found myself building relationships with them very quickly. People were encouraging from the moment I opened and have always provided helpful feedback on what they’d like to see improved or added. I feel that the new cups reflect this passion for everything that is great in Forest Hill and Sydenham — in the areas’ past and future.”

As a special treat, Ela has invited renowned local historian Steve Grindlay to give a fun talk entitled, ‘Going Shopping –The History and Secrets of Sydenham and Forest Hill Shops’ at a champagne launch to which you’re invited. Come and admire the new logo Ela’s commissioned by Lee Newham, Creative Director at Designed By Good People (yes, another local resident), which is fittingly based on Sydenham station’s vintage railway sign.

Imminent champagne reception at Jill Community Hub, 27 Sydenham Road, Sydenham SE26 5EX on Thursday 18th April 2013 at 7.00pm. First fill your glass with champers and then stuff your mind with interesting facts: local historian Steve Grindlay will be giving his talk, Going Shopping –The History and Secrets of Sydenham and Forest Hill Shops.
RSVP by Thursday 11th April to or via Twitter @onthehoofcoffee.

22 March 2011

Cafe Society

We’ve been featuring some of SE23’s new coffee shops and, in this issue, we move further away from Forest Hill town centre to find out what makes the perfect coffee experience. This time we speak to Ben Morris from Hop Scotch in Honor Oak Park and Anna Marciniak at The Brothers, Dartmouth Road

Hop Scotch
Ben was asked about his coffee: “Good, balanced, middle-of-the-road beans (not too strong or weak but 'rich'), freshly ground coffee bean dispensed by knowledgeable, trained baristas on a classic manual / lever machine for maximum flavour, cream and perfect froth!”

The Brothers Cafe
Anna, who is introducing a touch of Eastern Europe to SE23, gave her views on cafe culture: “A great café is a convivial place where people can sit and meet surrounded by friendly and helpful staff who are willing to bend over backwards for their customers.”

08 September 2010

Café Society

Whether you’re after a standard black coffee or an extravagant flat white, the stretch of road between Forest Hill Station and the Horniman has become a real meeting place for coffee lovers. We asked the owners to tell us the secret of a great coffee.

Lisa Etherington and Dan Shardlow at St David’s Café, David’s Road

The key elements to a great coffee are a fantastic roastery, a clean coffee machine, achieving the perfect grind/extraction and finally a great atmosphere in which to enjoy it.

Petros Yiannourkou at The Teapot, London Road

We all like our coffee just so and at The Teapot it’s about creating a cup of coffee that is received with love and satisfaction. We take the leg work out of grinding Guglielmo beans, carefully frothing the milk and creating a mug of joy that hits the spot.

Kollier Bangura at From The Forest, 1 Devonshire Road, opp Forest Hill Station

A great coffee is a blend of carefully selected beans made to the customer's requirements, taking into consideration the strength, texture and temperature. Then it’s served in a warm, comfortable environment with great service from friendly staff.

Hip Ngo at The Lemon Grove, London Road

A great cup of coffee is so many things - the quality of the coffee beans, the roast, the water softener and, of course, the skill of the coffee maker. Then it has to be served with a sprinkle of love!

01 January 2008

Welcome to 2008

At the end of 2006 we looked back to see what we had accomplished in the short space of time that the Forest Hill Society had been in existence in 2006. Today seems like a good day to look back over 2007 and see what has changed in Forest Hill in the last 12 months and what the Forest Hill Society has achieved.

Improvements were made to the footpath between Shipman Road and Sunderland Road, improving lighting, resurfacing the path, and improving the vegetation.

Plans for 84 flats behind Tyson Road were rejected by the council, although we understand that the developer is appealing against the decision

The development of the McDonalds site was approved by the council. Some feedback from the Forest Hill Society was taken into consideration to make sure that the adjacent footpath is adequately lit.

The site of Pizza hut / Red Cross on London Road will be redeveloped. Their first application was rejected as being out of character with the surrounding and they returned with an agreeable design. It is a shame that the same did not happen for the McDonalds site.

Forest Hill Library was closed for a few months to allow for renovations. The improved library has now reopened and looks great.

We are still waiting to hear what will actually happen about the Forest Hill swimming pool. At the end of 2006 I suggested that 2007 would be a 'key year in safeguarding the future of Forest Hill Pool', clearly this was not the case. Throughout 2007 very little seems to have happened and the inaction has meant it has been one of the worst years for Forest Hill pools. We can only hope that the report due to the Mayor and Cabinet in early 2008 will move things forward rapidly so that the pools are reopened on this site as soon as possible.

2007 was a mixed year for retail in the town centre. After many years in the area Mercury TV shut up shop, other shops such as Blockbuster were also unable to continue in Forest Hill, and we got the news that the post office will close, with all the services moving to the top floor of WHSmith. However new businesses have moved into the area and existing businesses have put further investment into Forest Hill. 2007 saw the refurbishment of The Hob pub and comedy club, a new restaurant in All In One on Perry Vale, and after many years of waiting we finally got a coffee shop in the town centre - The Lemon Grove.

December saw the last trains run on the East London Line and when the next trains run on the East London Railway they will be coming to Forest Hill. New tube maps now show Forest Hill as part of the network!

The Department for Transport has earmarked money to provide lifts to connect the two platforms at Forest Hill station, which will make travel possible for users in wheelchairs, and easier for other users with pushchairs or with limited mobility. We can look forward to these improvements being made over the next couple of years

However the Forest Hill Society, and at least 1,200 local residents who have signed our petition, are still concerned about the planned cuts to services to London Bridge, Charing Cross, and possibly the off-peak service to Victoria. This campaign has led to a debate in Parliament specifically about our train services and we continue to work with politicians and rail authorities to get the best possible train services for passengers from Forest Hill.

The Forest Hill Society has organised a number of events over the year including a History Walk, a Nature Walk, two pub crawls, we had a stall at the Rockbourne Youth Club Christmas Fayre, and we organised two general meetings with guest speakers Sir Steve Bullock, the mayor of Lewisham and local artist Jeff Lowe.

The Future
With the East London Line just a couple of years away from Forest Hill we can expect the town centre to be revitalised as Londoners realise what a great location this is with easy access to central London, Docklands, woodlands, parks, our local world class museum, and stunning views across London. 2008-2011 look to be some of the most dynamic times for the development of Forest Hill and with a number of empty shops on the high street, and new developments being planned, we can expect that this will be the time that a number of new shops will move into the area and make Forest Hill a thriving town centre.

10 October 2007

Further dates for your diary

All events in this article are non-FH Society events but are happening in the local area. If you would like to publicise events in Forest Hill that are open to all members of the public, please send us details.

Perry Vale ward meeting
There will be a Perry Vale Ward meeting hosted by the ward councillors, Susan Wise, John Paschoud and Alan Till to dicuss how ward members would like the next round of the Localities Fund to be spent. The £10,000 is funded by the Mayor Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, and the meeting will take place at St.George's Church (at the junction of Vancouver and Woolstone Roads SE23) on Monday, 29th October, at 7.30pm. All ward members welcome.

Rockbourne Youth Club - 25th Birthday
All members of the community, young and old, are invited to the 25th birthday of Rockbourne Youth Club. With information about the history of the club and current activities plus light refreshments.
20th October, 2-5pm, 41a Rockbourne Road, SE23 2DA
RSVP - Cerys:

The Lemon Grove - Coffee shop
News is coming in on that, after much waiting, a coffee shop will be opening on London Road. This is welcome news and we wish all new businesses in the area every success. More details here and on as we hear them.