The Clissold Park café in Stoke Newington has bowed to public pressure by serving cheaper dishes, after it was accused of alienating customers when the menu no longer included cheap, popular food.
The popular café‘s management has agreed to introduce cheaper and simpler dishes, such as sausage and mash, pasta, cheese on toast, and sandwiches with simpler fillings for about £2.50.
Hampstead-based catering firm Company of Cooks, which runs the café, provoked outrage among some locals when dishes such as chips or chocolate pudding were replaced by exotic salads, gnocchi and couscous. The café initially served meals for two at around £20.
Unhappy with the menu, some customers set up a Clissold Park Café Action Group on Facebook, complaining that the food was too expensive and exotic, and unappealing to children. The group said on their Facebook page: “We have been asking for the return of food such as fish and chips to the menu.
“A few people have said that will turn the place back into a ‘greasy spoon’ cafe. Why would that be so? Most of the top hotels in Park Lane as well as the Savoy hotel and the Ritz will supply a fish and chip meal. Does that make them ‘greasy spoon’ establishments?”
The debate was labeled a class war by some, with local Green Party activist Emma Dixon saying: “The elderly can’t afford to come here now, it’s all white, middle-class people.”
Despite the complaints, the café served around 5000 people in its first week of opening in January and has been struggling to keep up with high demand.
Manager Andy Gordon has said the café had listened to feedback from customers and made the changes in response.
Hackney Council said it had no involvement in changing the café’s menu.