A new pop-up restaurant aiming to showcase some of the area’s best budding food businesses has opened in Lewisham.
Housed in a vacant unit on Catford Broadway, The Catford Canteen is an initiative launched by Lewisham Council as part of its regeneration plans for the area.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Alan Smith, said: “The Catford Canteen allows us to embrace an opportunity by turning a short term vacant unit into something new, exciting and vibrant and it gives the local community a sense of what their town centre could become.”
After the success of the alfresco dining project ‘Catford Supper Club’ this summer, Lewisham Council decided to employ the pop-up unit to provide an opportunity for small food businesses to takeover and host their own nights.
Since its opening on October 25, the Catford Canteen has proved very popular. A spokesperson for Lewisham Council said: “We are overwhelmed with the success of Catford Canteen so far. We have been sold out for all the events we have had so far and are fully booked with people coming in till March. It just shows, if you build it they will come, and so far they have come.”
Catford-based Inapikkle ran a Barbadian themed evening last Friday and were extremely pleased with how the night went.
Karen Alleyne, the owner of a Inapikkle said: ‘‘Our night last week was such a success that we are fully booked for next month, we will even have diners from the East Midlands joining us.”
She added: “Without Catford Canteen we would never had been able to do something like this. It is a great way of giving places like ours exposure.”
This Saturday, Sydenham’s 2 Hungry Bees are hosting at the canteen and are expecting a great night.
Hungry bees co-owner Thang Uong said: “The Catford Canteen project has not just given us the opportunity to showcase our culinary skills, it enables us to bring Vietnamese cuisines to the South East of London. It’s a great project for small start-up businesses like us, as there is little overheads and great media exposure.”
Lewisham Council hope this pilot will continue to be a success in Catford and are planning to expand the idea to other vacant sites in the borough.