More tea, Brockers?

Jeremy: "If you build it, they will come". That's my market research.
Mark: Field of Dreams? A man who builds a baseball field in his backyard for ghosts? That's your role model?
- Peep Show


A new café will open early next year at The Tea Factory.

Called ‘The Tea Factory’ it will occupy the vacant corner unit, nearest Brockley Cross. We knew that the site had always been targeted as a possible café, but we imagined that the recession had killed that prospect for the foreseeable future. Never knowingly pessimistic, this is one occasion when we underestimated the regeneration underway in SE4.

Caroline has been in touch to tell us about her plans – she joins a group of new local entrepreneurs that includes Felix at The Talbot, Raymond at The Brockley Mess and Ross at Browns of Brockley, all putting their faith in the strength of the local market.

The plans sound great and, as well as providing a new option in this part of Brockley, they will be reclaiming the pavement area from the cars and vans that have been using that part of Brockley Cross as an elephant graveyard. She tells us:

“We are a family run business and are opening a bespoke tea and coffee shop at The Tea Factory in Brockley Cross. We’ll be opening in January or February.

“We’ll be serving Illy coffee and we’re working on finding a truly English brand of tea, together with home made cakes and dishes of the day.

“The menus will be designed by chef Dan Lucas. He is currently teaching the chefs of tomorrow at the Shooters Hill Post 16 Campus. Dan has had a wealth of experience in the trade including many years at Chez Bruce just down the road in Wandsworth. The ingredients will be sourced from Borough Market, Riverford and Abel & Cole to ensure we are getting the freshest fruit and vegetables available and of course this will also ensure the products are fair-trade. We’ll start off with a limited food menu, with nothing costing more than a fiver.

“We’ll be refurbishing the shop with the emphasis on quality and comfort. We’ll also be making use of the pavement area.

“We’re really excited about bringing a new café to the area - it has a great community atmosphere and we believe it's up-and-coming. We hope the people of Brockley will be impressed and supportive and we look forward to meeting them!”
In light of the long (some would say tedious) debates about kids in cafes that have taken place here and here, we thought we’d better ask Caroline what kind of balance they’ll be striking at The Tea Factory.

She said:

“We are actually providing a safe area down the side of the shop to park buggies (there will be a CCTV camera on that area with a screen inside) and will be offering a few special options for kids.

“Of course, we would also hope the parents make sure their kids don’t run riot, so that other customers can enjoy the space too.”

We look forward to hearing more from Caroline as her plans progress.

By the way, this news isn’t what this was all about.

83 comments:

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Is this the mysterious new business speculated about a couple of weeks ago?

Oh no it isn't, when I read to the end.....

I'd like to enter this as the most pointless post of the week please.

Anonymous said...

mmm, more and more lovely tea for exciting Brockley

CaptainC said...

Sounds great, better than the fried chicken shop I had anticipated. Anyone going to the Tea Architects open evening on Thursday?

Anonymous said...

Nick - when are you going to tell us what the mystery new business is? I want to know! (stamps foot)

The Cat Man said...

Will they sell Mung bean tea?

Anonymous said...

Wow this is good news! Not sure i am mad about the bust location there, but anything which boosts choice will be very welcome!

Anonymous said...

That should be busy as opposed to bust....

The Cat Man said...

yeah, this is really p*ssing me off now - what is this new thing you keep talking about?

From what I remember, it was something that needed a business plan - so i'm guessing a private business of some description. We lack a decent boozer west-side, perhaps something to do with that!

Headhunter said...

Hurrah! In with the new (cafes, delis and fancy pubs) and out with the old (fried chicken shops and bookies)!

Cat Man - Do we really need ANOTHER mung bean comment? Come on as a regular here, leave the predictable to the anonymous. It was never even funny...

Ross Brown said...

surely the new thing has something to do with lantera or whatever its called. what with the boards going up there this week

The Cat Man said...

Its still pertinent, think it will be for the next couple of years, or at least until the mung bean eaters have saturated the market!

M said...

He thinks it's funny HH. It's thanks to people like him that Green Green Grass is onto it's 5th series...

Brockley Nick said...

If anything is likely to put the anons off telling "mung bean" jokes, it's surely Cat Man's appropriation of the gag. ;)

The Cat Man said...

Actually, didn't I start it? Theres a good post somewhere which describes the meaning of the mung bean. Its still relevant - honest!

John - Ex Moonbow said...

Good luck Caroline this sounds very interesting.

All the Best

John Ex-Moonbow Jakes

Headhunter said...

John - Sounds like you exitted the market too early!

Anonymous said...

Talking of which how about an interactive map update?

I remeber the initial enthusism........

"The thing I like best about Jon's innovation is that there are so many sites out there that have maps of Brockley that are worse than useless - outdated, inaccurate and threadbare."

Quotation from?

Brockley Nick said...

haha, yes, that weighs heavily on my mind. I know it needs an update.

I'll 'have a word' with BJ.

Anonymous said...

Sounds excellent and just around the corner from me, I shall certainly be visting when it opens! Good luck with getting it all sorted Caroline.

Now all we need is for the council to sort out Brockley Cross...

Matt-Z said...

Another new place to go, excellent! Good luck to them.

What is going on at La Lanterna though? Closed for refurbishment for how long? And now the wooden hoardings. I thought the place lost some of its charm after the last refurbishment - laminate flooring summed it up really. Plus the prices went up and the portion sizes went down. So will it be the same restaurant, but with a new look, or something completely different?

Anonymous said...

Is Brockley becoming a Tea state ?

Might be good though If the government bring In prohibition

Anonymous said...

What's this about an Architect open day?

dodeckahedron said...

"The ingredients will be sourced from Borough Market, Riverford and Abel & Cole to ensure we are getting the freshest fruit and vegetables available" ... uh, why don't you just go down the road to Deptford market? Or Lewisham market, for that matter? How many "organic" cafes does the area need? As someone's who has grown up in the area, this is driving me a bit mad.

westsider said...

of all the problems the area has, this is what you get worked up about? Too many cafes?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I'd suggest Taylors of Harrogate for the Tea but then I am biased.

But if it's good enough for Betty's it's good enough for anyone.

This won't mean a thing to those who are not from Yorkshire.

dodeckahedron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dodeckahedron said...

i guess it's more the fact that all these cafes are signifiers of the continuing gentrification of the area that makes me sad for the future.

westsider said...

What specifically are you worried will happen as a result of the gentrification?

Because it's not like this cafe has forced anyone out. It's an empty shell at the moment.

For me, replacing an empty shell with a lively business is a positive thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm becoming increasingly bemused at why so much Brockley business is about consuming stuff - but welcome them

Brockley Nick said...

On that particular row, we will have one community gallery, one architecture practice and one cafe. Sounds like a very healthy balance of production and consumption to me.

The planned development around the corner will create workshop spaces for light industry and I've written about a number of local entrepreneurs who work from home. They don't need a high street presence. High streets are generally about "consuming" things.

Headhunter said...

Gentrification = good! Bookies and fried chicken = bad! Bring on the cafes...

Headhunter said...

dodeckahedron - I don't think there's much to wory about a the moment. There are still 4 or 5 bookies and a similar number of fried chicken joints within walking distance of Brockley station. I wouldn't take the opening of another cafe in a previously unoccupied retail site as a threat to civilisation...

Anonymous said...

Fried chicken is lovely. The low grade stuff from Brockley isn't, but a KFC would go down very nicely.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... this is interesting

http://www.gumtree.com/london/46/44435946.html

Anonymous said...

Some of the Bookies do a nice cup of tea

M said...

Re: Gumtree ad.
That is interesting - a good quality pizza joint would be fantastic.

Tressilliana said...

Good quality pizza restaurant - yes.

Betty's of Brockley - well, we can all dream.

Headhunter said...

That's probably an ad for a chef at the Talbot

Anonymous said...

I wonder if that ad is for the italian place that is supposed to be opening on endwell rd? They got planning ages ago for an italian bistro and there has been intermittent activity behind the boarded over front over the last few months including installing a rather nice looking wood & glass front (from what I could see being nosy walking past!)

Anonymous said...

That's an ad for the position of chef at Gulen Kebab

* Must have skills in asking and acting on salad and sauce requirements.

Anonymous said...

Another cafe sounds great but there are so many other business that are needed and there is only so much tea & food I can consume. I would love a great bookshop, furniture store (antiques or modern), fishmonger and green grocer offering good (not necessarily organic) fresh fruit and veg at affordable prices (similar to those offered in Lewisham or Deptford). There is an excellent antique shop on ladywell road and the nearest fishmonger is in nunhead (which isn't far) but the more that is offered in brockley the better for encouraging others to come to the area.

drakefell debaser said...

I had no idea that the shop on Endwell Rd - Save our Shop - was to become an Italian bistro. I have heard banging and sawing going on and have been playing guessing games.

Brilliant if so and even more brilliant if it turns out to be any good.

fabhat said...

Anon - I think we'll be unlikely to get a bookshop, when even lovely independents like Crockett and Powell in (much busier) Waterloo have to close...

The Cat Man said...

Not neccessarily, i would imagine the commercial premises rent would be a lot higher in Waterloo than in Brockers

Anonymous said...

drakefell debaser - that is what is says on the planning application see http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/35170_2.pdf - and indeed it'll be great if it's any good - mind you anything will be an improvement on the fried chicken next door

Paddyom said...

Does anyone know if anything is happening with the old Chez Ecosium unit on the hill?

Matt-Z said...

Good question. Whatever happened to those fish?

Anonymous said...

They were dipped in batter and fried to 320 degrees before I enjoyed them with a large portion of chips.

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks for the link. I notice that whoever jotted down the shops whereabouts has a poor sense of direction..

"The house is situated in a large mixed use area known as Brockley and bounded by St Jiles Rd to the West, Milmark Rd to the East, Vesta Rd to the North and Drakefell Rd to the East...."

I have never heard of St Jiles Rd for a start and can't find one on any maps but there is a St Giles in Peckham, surely too far West to be of consequence. Also, Drakefell Rd is West of Endwell unless you turn the map upside down.

Hopefully the design skills are better than the orienteering but having a nice Italian on my door step would be very welcome.

Hugh said...

The Tea Factory has been a total non-event since it was (at long last) finished, hasn't it?

Pete said...

Cafes here in Brockley can only dream of being as good as Betty's.

Taste tester said...

Just want to say I'm eating some of that Arnold Dobbs pesto £3.95 from The Shop on the Hill, the quality has improved, the flavour is more discernible, but of pepper, rather than of basil or garlic or other advertised ingredients.

Anonymous said...

Cosyness levels going through the roof...

Gaga said...

Don't go for Illy coffee! You pay a premium for what is effectively average beans! Why not go for locally roasted coffee beans from reputable companies who deal direct with the producer? I'm thinking Monmouth Coffee, Square Mile, Union Roasters, hasbean... Now these are good coffees.

Monkeyboy said...

"up and coming" That's what the estate agent told me when I was checking out the area. WHEN WILL IT BLEEDING GET HERE!

Anonymous said...

Your life sounds like you could be a lot more with it.

Richard said...

@TM I went to university in York and used to laugh to myself every time I saw the Betty's queue snake round the town square! Saying that Taylor's tea is good I'm told by those who went to Betty's that it was brilliant if steep.

Caroline, the best of luck, I'm very jealous. I think this is a great time to think about opening in Brockley (Brockley Mess and Brown's have nailed the timing) and I only wish I was in a position to do the same. Ecosium/Aquarium was supposed to have signed a tenancy way back in May, but nothing has happened since. La Lanterna seemed available around the same time, but like Ross says, the boards look ominous (I'm sure La Lanterna won't be reopening though).

The main Brockley Road stretch could definitely support another eatery - ideally a good quality evening bar/restaurant on the Lanterna site.

Monkeyboy said...

I'm not 'with it' nor am I 'groovy'. Have to say that I'm a bit dubious about taking advice from Austin Powers.

Danja said...

Don't go for Illy coffee! ... I'm thinking Monmouth Coffee, Square Mile, Union Roasters, hasbean... Now these are good coffees.

And please do medium roasted filter coffee, not just that watered down espresso with all the flavour burnt out of it americano rubbish.

Hugh said...

For £2.50 you can buy a packet of Lavazza anywhere. Why not brew your own?

laluna said...

Illy does it for me - definitely worth the premium

Ross Brown said...

because both lavazza and illy are disgusting, overpriced and most notably stale coffees. like danja said you can support british enterprise and buy from (literally) the best coffee roaster in the world in bethnal green (squaremilecoffee.com) or from another great british roaster (hasbean.co.uk). both run a great online service, they only sell FRESH coffee and they're both very, very ethically minded companies.

Anonymous said...

ARGHHHHHHH Ethics again.

Brockley Nick said...

Coffee all pretty much tastes the same to me, but to dismiss the importance of ethical standards in food production is just knee-jerk hogwash.

Why wouldn't you want your eggs to be laid by hens reared in decent conditions? Why wouldn't you want your pigs to have a bit of space and a ball to play with? Why wouldn't you want cows to be slaughtered as quickly and painlessly as possible and why wouldn't you want rice to be picked by adults rather than by young kids?

All basic ethical standards, which might put the price of your weekly shop up a few pence, but a small price to pay to avoid being a bastard, really.

maxink said...

Not wanting to dispute the ethical credential of those brands let me say that Lavazza is a very reasonably priced excellent coffee, I'm having one right now (home brew that is).
Illy is very expensive but is neither stale or mediocre, it's actually very good and I wish I could afford it all the time.
I normally drink Coop Ethiopian fair trade, mostly because it's good and I find it near home and when I run out of coffee I panic and run to the nearest shop to buy it, if Coop was stocking Lavazza I would buy that instead.

But as someone rightly said recently, we're all very careful to be fair with ethiopians and colombians when our dairy farmers are desperately abused by these "fair" supermarkets and all struggle to make ends meet despite working like donkeys.

Ross Brown said...

it is no way right that you should be able to charge a few pence a drink for something that in a lot of cases has been hand picked, hand sorted, hand washed, hand dried. both companies that i linked to have direct relationships with nearly all the farmers that they buy coffee from. square mile nearly always name every single farm and farmer that has produced their coffee and steve the owner of hasbean regularly travels to origin. it's not a gimmick or bullshit or a money making scheme like fair trade it's people just trying to do the right thing, pay people a good price for the coffee they produce and hopefully make something sustainable.

maxink said...

That's a convincing advocacy. I'll have to give them a try then.

And if I could add a drop of milk from fairly paid british farmers then that would be paradise.

Anonymous said...

The thing about ethics is that people have different ethical standards - see for example the atrocious use of the word "Ethical" in PETA. Claiming that anything you do is "ethical" is a platitude and quite disrespectful, I believe, of anyone who disagrees.

Anonymous said...

The thing about ethics is that people have different ethical standards - see for example the atrocious use of the word "Ethical" in PETA. Claiming that anything you do is "ethical" is a platitude and quite disrespectful, I believe, of anyone who disagrees.

Brockley Nick said...

Some ethical standards are absolute, surely.

I think we can probably all agree that first-degree murder is unethical.

Not everything is subjective. Sometimes people are wrong and others are right.

Me, in this case, for example ;)

Anonymous said...

good to see someone opening up a quality pavement cafe; i love illy coffee, and lite-bites for under a fiver does it for me. hurry up and open caroline

Anonymous said...

"the tea factory at brockley cross"
has a great ring to it. its great to see an independent opening up and people investing in our area, this is how lordship lane started to be the "in" place to live and work

Anonymous said...

Sad to say I've not heard the best report about Brockley Mess. The portion of ginger and chocolate cake were mingy. £2.20

The previous reports about the place being full of mothers and toddlers appears to ring true. I have a report that the vibes are somewhat hostile towards men that are not the fathers who go into purchase cake.

The Cat Man said...

I went to the Brockley Mess last weekend. It was alright. Not the most amazing place, but the food was adequate for the price.

I had the cream tea deal. The salmon sandwiches and the scone was nice. The tea was pretty much what you would expect. They had ran out of the cake so we asked if we could have the 'brockley mess' brownie instead which they were happy to provide with no extra charge (despite being more expensive on the menu).

There was a few mothers and toddlers in their. I didn't see the gallery. I thought it was too open and bleak looking, I think I prefer the rat and tat appeal of Moonbrows even though the coffee was bad previously.

I think the place is therefore good to go to if you want a quick cuppa. Anything more though, go to the TM2 which has much better quality food on offer.

Mooooo said...

Where to stop with the ethics? I learn all sorts of things when insomnia forces me to listen to Farming Today - such as that farmers would like to breed cattle that can be used for both beef AND dairy, but market pressures prevent it and require them to specialise. As a result, the milk you put in your cuppa comes with the additional cost that every male calf born to a dairy cow is slaughtered at birth. Nice thought, eh?

fabhat said...

Mooo - which is why eating properly reared, and cared for veal is a good (almost ethical) thing to do if you're a milk drinking, meat eater...

Michael said...

I went to the Brockley Mess last week for breakfast and it was amazing! Really fresh ingredients cooked perfectly. I had the Full English and my girlfriend had the Eggs Florentine and both were outstanding. We've talked about it several times since and are planning to make a weekly treat.

Go for the breakfast and you'll soon change your mind.

Anonymous said...

The Brockley Mess do loose leaf tea, which is a darn sight tastier than the usual tea bag nonesense dished up in other establishments.

At some stage they may also start doing coffee by the cafetiere and the variety of your choice. Sadly this essential feature does not seem to have migrated from the Royal Teas.

All this talk if Lavazzo, Illy and Seafredo. They are part of the Italian expresso mafia. Buy the big machine from them and a coffee supply contract comes as part of the deal. The coffee is not the best, it is contractual obligation coffee. The cafe owner is supposed to work some sort of magic with the expresso machine to make it palatable and this usually involves putting all manner of odd concoctions into it. It is coffee for kids. Cream, marshmallows, all kinds of sweet stuf to disguise the inferior nature of the underlying product.

The previous poster who spoken of Union, Monmouth and the other specialist roasters had the right idea.

Put that in your cafetiere and taste the difference. It is in a different league.

Monkeyboy said...

Read this, scroll down to "How to cope with coffee"

http://bit.ly/Qch1v

John Ex-Moonbow said...

11 years in the café bar trade in New Cross, Brockley and Catford is enough I think for any one person HH. As for the ethics... it is often not as it seems or said, I know people in, or owners of, many of the names mentioned here and PR does not always equal reality. I do agree that the Co-op own brand is very good if you like stronger filter coffee.

Ross Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patrick1971 said...

Illy coffee? Does this mean we can expect to see Liz Jones gracing Brockley's streets soon?

John: one question I've always wanted to know. Why did Moonbow's shut its outlet in New Cross? It always seemed busy.

Anonymous said...

Great to see the unit come to life but shame about the awful chimney which spoils an otherwise attractive view of the Tea Factory from Brockley Road!
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