WE were luckily enough to speak to Robyn Simms, co-founder of London's very own soda works back in January. Here's a seek preview of our interview that we will publish next week ...
Square Root Soda Works is a small batch drinks company based in Hackney, known for its fresh and original take on popular culture soda. We talk to co-founder Robyn Simms about cherry blossom, seasonal finds, and the alchemy of taste.
“Keeping it seasonal, sourcing as locally as possible or direct from growers is really important for us,” says Robyn Simms of Square Root Soda Works. “We are always looking for new and unusual ingredients to make drinks without too much sugar.”
Since launching at their local farmer’s market, Robyn with Ed Taylor have taken fizzy soda to a whole new level, creating flavours from ingredients as unexpected as seasonal rhubarb, elderflowers picked by a local forager, and cedro (an archaic-looking citrus fruit from Italy).
AS iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club is Mud Australia, the tableware company started by self-taught potter, Shelley Simpson. Instantly recognisable for its palette of sorbet-inspired hues, its plates, bowls, jugs, vessels and platters have graced the tables of Nigella Lawson, Donna Hay and Bill Granger. Made from Limoges porcelain, all pieces are handcrafted at the Mud studio in Sydney. The pigment is then tinted through the porcelain to achieve its distinctive depth of colour with a clear glaze being applied to create its vitrified stone-like surface that becomes smooth with handling. With Mud Australia recently opening a store in Porchester Place W2, this handmade crockery and serviceware is now available here in London. With a style that is uncomplicated and a celebration of simplicity, we are sure that Mud will find instantaneous success. With a selection of over 18 colours and 80 shapes, anything from its collection would be the perfect addition to any London table.
11 Porchester Place W2 2BU
t: 020 7706 4903
hrs: monday to friday 10am - 6pm; saturday 10am - 5pm
OVER the last three years, we have interviewed some of London's best local brewers, cheesemakers, charcuteries, patisseries, bakers and writers as an ongoing chronicle of London as a food city. For WIDE OPEN, we have collated their recommendations of where they like to eat, drink, shop in London. Today we publish part two of our look inside the kitchens of London's food artisans as they share with us the local produce that they like to have eat.
CATHERINE PIDDINGTON, PIDDINGTON JAM
Conserver and avid collector of cookbooks
"Rococo Chocolate has been a favourite of mine since childhood. I love the taste of their rose and violet creams — such an indulgent treat. Montezuma’s do amazing chocolates as does Paul A. Young, who takes you on a journey with his combinations of different tastes and flavours."
RACHEL DE THAMPLE
Author, Cook, Gardener, Forager
“Honey from local friends and neighbours. Bread from Brockwell Bake. Herbs grown in my local park (I dry them so I have a year-round stock). Dried lemon verbena and peppermint from my local park’s Edible Garden for teas and puds. I always have a bundle of locally foraged sumac. Walnuts and pumpkins from my friend’s farm in Sutton. Rhubarb from local gardens and horseradish from local allotments (bought or traded via the Patchwork Farm stall). Chillies from Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses. Crab apple preserves from locally foraged fruit. Autumnal fruit-steeped vodka (blackberries, elderberries, rosehips, haws, apples, pears, quince…). Dried elderberries and elderberry vinegar (better than balsamic!). Rosehip puree for puds and tea. Sometimes acorns for a coffee-like drink but they’re a bit fiddly. I always try to have herbs and edible flowers, baby carrots, radishes and beetroot in my window boxes. Bay leaves (no one should ever buy these. I’m convinced London could be self-sufficient in bay). Caraway and fennel seeds grown in a shared garden (and foraged). Lavender flowers for baking and tea. Alexander seeds. Writing this list is making me realise why my kitchen is so cluttered!”
TARA SUNDRAMOORTHI, KITCHEN TABLE PROJECTS
Entrepreneur and founder of Kitchen Table Projects
"At Kitchen Table Projects, we work with Marcus Carter of the Artisan Food Club. So as a buyer, I get to access dozens of producers. So from our larder here at Kitchen Table Projects, I like to take home Gregor’s Dressing, Prairie Fire BBQ sauce (it’s our best seller), Sweet Virtues, and Tea People."
ADRIENNE TREEBY, CROWN & QUEUE
Salumiere, pork whisperer and fearless heroine
“I always keep a really well-stocked beer cupboard, including The Kernel Brewery, Brew by Numbers and The Five Points Brewing Company beer. In my larder, you’ll also find Colvin’s Hot Pepper Jelly, and some Graceburn cheese from Blackwoods Cheese Company. I try to always get my meat from The Butchery. The London Honey Company and Natoora at Spa Terminus are other favourites.”
DAVE HOLTON, BLACKWOODS CHEESE COMPANY
Cheesemaker and co-founder
“It’s really cheese, meat and beer. Fermentation is the thing that we are really interested in and finding other people that are interested in it whether that be milk, or barley and hops, or meats and sausages. So if we’re not getting our meat from Flock & Herd, we will get it from Nathan at The Butchery. I’d also include Adrienne Treeby of Crown & Queue for her delicious sausages. There’s Nick at Vadasz Deli who’s making proper raw unpasteurised pickles and there will also be some beers from The Kernel Brewery.”
KITTY TRAVERS, LA GROTTA ICES
Wildly talented maker of ice-creams
“Fruit and vegetables from John & Elena at Spa Terminus, as well as salami from the Ham & Cheese Company with coffee from Jack Coleman’s Coffee. A litre of wine from Toasted in Dulwich. Bread from Little Bread Pedlar or Brickhouse in Peckham or Cathedral loaf from Bread Ahead at Borough. I’ll get my vegetables from Brixton Farmers’ Farm and pasta from in Vauxhall. I always go our of my way to get dukkah from Persepolis in Peckham run by Sally Butcher.”
NICK VADASZ, VADASZ DELI
The Pickle Man
“I am in awe of people like Hugo Jeffreys from Blackhand Food (now Autumn Yard Meat) - some of the charcuterie that he creates is just fantastic. I’d say Cobble Lane Cured as well. They’re unbelievable those guys and we supply some of the same places. Phil and Keith at Wildes Cheese. I just love their cheese, and Blackwoods Cheese Company. They are all real, very talented people doing some amazing things.”
OONAGH SIMMS, THE MARSHMALLOWIST
Founder and confectionary extraordinare
“You’ll find some Newton & Pott’s piccalilli. I met Kylee at Meet the Makers and she is insanely talented. I’m also a fan of Smith & Sinclair: they do alcohol pastilles that you can get Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. They are just a lovely gift for a birthday. I also like Sipsmith: I use their gin in our blueberry and gin marshmallows.”
CHRIS BARNES & PAUL WEBB, BARNES & WEBB
Urban beekeeper and farmers
“We have a lot of respect for our stockists like Lillie O’Brien's London Borough of Jam (LBJ), A.Gold in Spitalfields, and E5 Bakehouse. In terms of produce, some of our favourite London producers include The Roasting Shed coffee, LBJ’s rhubarb and cardamom jam, Fatties Salted Caramels, Fine Cider and Wildes Cheese - Napier. Eat 17 Homerton do a great bacon jam.”
ERIN HURST, PROVENANCE VILLAGE BUTCHER
Co-owner of Notting Hill’s village butcher
“Our home larder looks a lot like what you’ll find in our store. So there’s Simon Wright’s tomato sauce, Trealy Farm Charcuterie, CNWD smoked salmon and some Ouse Valley fresh mayonnaise. We have Rubies in the Rubble. One of the girls lives close to us, so she’s helped us with one of our supplier demos that we do once a month. In the fridge, there’ll always be some Packington chicken and pies from the store. And of course meat, we eat wagyu once or twice a week. "
HUGO JEFFREYS , AUTUMN YARD MEATS
Chef, baker and charcutier
“I always have a loaf of E5 Bakehouse bread on the go. Wildes Cheese: we are both at the same market at Ally Pally. Sara of Nyborg's Kitchen does a fantastic rye bread - the best that I have ever tasted and a banana chocolate bread that I can’t stop buying because it is so good. And finally, Nick of Vadasz Deli because he is a pickle bad-arse.”