Black Lives Matter and saying it just isn’t enough. Black-owned businesses have to fight harder and longer to stay open because of systemic economic inequality, so consumers can do their bit by supporting with their money.
Here are black-owned food and drink businesses in London you can support because where you spend your money matters.
Uncle John’s Bakery
Samuel Mensah took over the Ghanaian bakery business that was founded 25 years ago by his parents and named after his father – Uncle John – after leaving his budding music career as a grime MC in 2014 when he was 29. He’s since been nominated for the Entrepreneur Rising Star Black British Business award (BBBAward) 2019. In light of the current situation, Uncle John has taken part to help the NHS staff by offering free loaves to any NHS workers available to pick up in store (so far they have given away over 300 free loaves). From the classic sweet bread (great with butter or Nutella) to the brioche-style twister bread and the very moreish chin chin snacks, this family-run bakery pour love and tradition into every product. theunclejohnsbakery.com
The world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant based in London, fusing authentic Nigerian flavours and the best of Nigeria’s West African culture. Brought to you by a cheeky brother-sister duo, they noticed the lack of Nigerian cuisine on the capital’s “foodie” map whilst growing up in East London. Drawing on the tapas style approach from his time spent living in Spain, Emeka (é-meh-ka) combined this with his little sister Ifeyinwa’s (i-fay-in-wa) own experience of enjoying the slower pace of life after her time spent living in Martinique in the Caribbean. Sharing plates range from plant-based, vegan-friendly options to meat and fish delicacies. www.chukuslondon.co.uk
Park’s Edge Bar & Kitchen
Elements of the menu at Park’s Edge feature a twist on classic British fare, subtly weaving in flavours of the Caribbean, partially reflecting the heritage of the restaurateurs and the community within which Park’s Edge is located. The inspiration behind this approach comes from co-owner, Claudia McKenzie’s upbringing, whose Jamaican parents (part of the Windrush generation) settled Claudia in secondary school just up the road from the restaurant. Claudia comments: “At Park’s Edge whilst we are predominantly Modern British, there is a hint of West Indian influence across the menu, not just from Jamaica but ingredients or styles of cooking from islands throughout the Caribbean. I want people to discover something new and intriguing whilst at Park’s Edge and enjoy not only exceptional food but a memorable experience.” parksedgebarandkitchen.com
Head Chef James Cochran is the former chef of The Ledbury and has starred in the BBC’s Great British Menu. 1251’s menu is described as modern British, drawing inspiration from James’ Scottish and Vincentian roots. The format of the offering is largely geared around small plates, in the “sharing style” — where five- and eight-course menus are served (both available as vegetarian), alongside an a la carte offering. Currently available ‘Around the Cluck’ for delivery and collection are orders that focus on James’ famous Buttermilk Jamaican Jerk Chicken (vegetarian options included). www.1251.co.uk
Fish, Wings & Tings
Inspired by his accomplished cook grandmother, chef Brian Danclair grew up in awe watching her serving and feeding happy people in Port au Spain, Trinidad. When he was 19 Brian moved to Washington to train with top chefs and honed his skills in French Provençal cooking. He calls his food “Nouvelle Caribbean cuisine”, which can now be enjoyed in Brixton Village. www.fishwingsandtings.com