Adapting to changing demands

Neil Littman tucks in to food from an enterprising Winchmore Hill café

Michael Ionnou has run The Larder in Winchmore Hill since 2017
Michael Ionnou has run The Larder in Winchmore Hill since 2017

Some restaurants make an impact with their ambience, some with their food, others based on the personality of their owners or staff. The Larder is a venue that has elements of all three.

This is also a place that has shown a great deal of imagination, reinventing its offer to meet the demands of a challenging year, but also to make itself a popular destination for local residents and visitors. It was the first place I visited on a regular basis after moving to the area in 2014; good for solo dining as well as somewhere to meet up with friends and family.

Run by Michael Ionnou since 2017, The Larder is one of the cafés in Winchmore Hill located directly on The Green, where you can time your visit by the arrival and departure of the W9 bus. It has a very relaxed vibe and is a cosy place to enjoy the local paper; a perfect pit stop. They serve their own specially roasted coffee which is a unique blend of Colombian, Ethiopian and Ugandan beans.

When Michael took over it was a food store and café serving breakfast and lunch with occasional supper club events. Since then, he has changed the emphasis towards a wider variety of dining experiences, including pop-ups and seasonal events.

The menu has also expanded over the years and is now a mixture of English and Mediterranean cuisine serving breakfast and brunch with granola and croissants, plus dishes such as croque monsieur, oyster mushrooms seared with garlic and butter and served on sourdough toast with poached eggs, eggs royale or Benedict, plus salads and charcuterie. The menu changes seasonally as well.

The café is also licensed and serves draft beers and lagers as well as wine and Prosecco. Pimms is a favourite refreshment during the summer A saving grace during lockdown was the opening of their front window to serve takeaways and beer on tap.

One of the best aspects of the place has been the flexible approach taken during the past year to maintain contact with customers and provide different dining experiences. When lockdown was lifted, The Larder provided more space for alfresco dining and the garden was opened up and renovated to provide additional seating all year round. Special ‘pop-up’ events have included barbecue pork smoked in-house, stone-baked pizzas and paella evenings.

The Larder’s success is a testament to the hard work of the staff and their loyal clientele.

For more information about The Larder:
Visit facebook.com/larderlife