Revolutionary new eating places are altering the London meals scene

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Norman De Bono

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18th November 2020 • • 18th November 2020 • • 3 minutes read Immanuel’s kitchen owner Ester Garcia offers 630 keto-friendly Latin American dishes in her new Somerville store, including a Colombian empanada in the right hand and a Salvadoran doll in the left. This is another sign of innovation on the London food front. (Derek Ruttan / The London Free Press)

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The former London Food Incubator has led to innovative new small businesses amid the pandemic.

The East London center, now renamed Somerville 630, provides a starting point for small food businesses. But not only has it created more places to eat. These dishes can also change the city’s food scene.

“This is an opportunity for these smaller businesses that haven’t been able to open elsewhere to bring their products to market,” said Mark Navackas, chief financial officer of Fire Roasted Coffee, who owns the building at 630 Dundas St. and is leasing the building Space for start-ups.

“That’s the cool thing. A new Mexican keto spot can’t pay $ 4,000 monthly rent anywhere else. This will help them get started. It gives them a foundation. “

A new company offers Latin American food in a keto-style, another offers traditional Korean food, but all vegan and vegetarian. Yet another has baked goods that specialize in a Czech pastry called kolache in both sweet and savory flavors.

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They pay around $ 800 a month in all inclusive rent and some booths are shared. The space can also host refrigerators, stoves, and sinks if needed, Navackas said.

“That’s what we’re about. These are foods that aren’t usually out there. “

Fire Roasted Coffee’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Navackas, with the help of his mother, the founder of London Fringe, Kathy Navackas, has opened a new art space called Somerville 630 at 630 Dundas St. in London on the site of the former grocer’s Old East Village. It also acts as an incubator for innovative food companies. (Derek Ruttan / The London Free Press)

These new companies join other established food innovators in the Food Hub east of Adelaide, including Momo’s and its delicious Nepalese cuisine, which specializes in dumplings. Fire roast coffee; and Yaya’s Kitchen, which offers dishes from Africa, the Caribbean, South America and the southern USA “the black experience while eating” for take-away, delivery and a Saturday pop-up on site.

Michal Hrncir opened a pastry shop called Homemade Kolache during the COVID-19 shutdown in Somerville 630.

“I think if there is an opportunity, take it,” he said. “It was either to stay home and do nothing or to work on a business idea.”

Hrncir has been selling in the area’s farmers markets and is hoping to establish online sales.

“If this wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here,” he said across the room. “This is very important.

“There’s a lot of variety here, lots of different people come in,” he adds, trying to find a different dining experience.

Ester Garcia started Immanuel’s Kitchen in June. It offers keto-friendly Latin American food with tortillas made from coconut and almond flour and french fries made from jicama, a root vegetable native to Mexico.

“I’ve been planning this for three years. I learned keto cooking and turned it into Mexican food, ”Garcia said.

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“It was slow, but it’s coming back slowly. My food is very different. “

She used to run Immanuel’s Place at 100 Dundas Street. It’s not open now, but customers are finding it, she added.

At Bella’s Acacia Catering, owner Bella Kim wants to change people’s view of Korean food, from bulgogi, the beef dish, to realizing that there are great vegetarian options too.

“When people in London think of Korean food, they think of meat. I want to show people how fresh it is, how good it is. I ate that when I was young, ”she said in Seoul.

Kim opened in September and the business has slowly but steadily improved as more and more people find their location. It first opened on Dorinda Street about two years ago but moved to Somerville 630 amid the pandemic.

“It’s a better place. We wanted to win more customers, ”she said – and sales have increased by around 50 percent since the move.

“It worked for me,” said Kim.

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