The votes have been counted and verified and Lewisham has come up trumps at The Time Out Love London Awards.
Seventeen Lewisham businesses were named “best” “restaurant”, “café”, “pub”, “shop” or “local pick” at the magazine’s awards celebration on Monday, designed to “help Londoners showcase the best bits of where they live”.
Over 65,000 people voted for the best establishments in their neighbourhoods, ranging from “the city’s plushest postcodes to gritty up-and-comers”.
The Orchard picked up the award for “Best restaurant in Brockley and Blackheath” at the ceremony. Owner Edmund Bing told Eastlondonlines: “A lot of hard work, sweat and tears has gone into establishing The Orchard, so the award means an awful lot – particularly coming from customers and the public who have voted and nominated us.”
“Because we’re up a little side street when people come to us they feel like they’ve come across a hidden gem. We don’t market the restaurant at all, so this award is a great achievement.”
Despite earning the Time Out accolade, Bing said that The Orchard will “never rest on [its] laurels”.
“We make sure that we do everything to a high standard. We are always doing what we can to make [the restaurant] more interesting… A lot of restaurants find a formula that works and stick to it. We’re always changing our menu which we alter seasonally.”
“When we started this we wanted to create a business that would not only be a financial success but also an environment where people are happy to work and enjoy being a part of.”
Akjen Havali, co-owner of Birdie Num Nums, who won “Best café in New Cross and Deptford”, said: “Winning the award is amazing, we’re gobsmacked and overwhelmed.”
“We went to the awards at Paramount bar and it was a really great opportunity to meet other local businesses.”
less than a year ago by Turkish Cypriot sisters Havali and Sevjan Sitki, the café prides itself on creating “a comfy atmosphere”, providing locally sourced products with a “Turkish Mediterranean touch”.
Havali said: “We have both worked really hard over the past year which has had its ups and downs but we never imagined we would win this award. We are truly grateful. We have amazing customers and a great team of staff who help us make Birdie Num Nums what it is.”
Gill Jones, owner of The Allotment, which won “Best shop in New Cross and Deptford”, told Eastlondonlines: “It’s really nice that we were nominated and voted for. I wanted to go to the awards party but Tuesday morning is our market day, so I had to get up at 4:00am!”
Jones said that, as a small business, “it takes time for people to be aware that you’re there… but over time we’ve had more and more local people coming and our veg boxes are taking off”.
“We’ve been here for three years and we’re still going strong… We’re always working on developing things and we always take on people’s feedback.”
Other Lewisham winners included Little Nan’s Bar which won “Best bar in New Cross and Deptford”, Jam Circus winner of “Best pub in Brockley and Blackheath” and Lewisham’s Model Market which won “Best local pick”.
Rightmove, who sponsor the magazine awards, said: “We wanted to be part of helping reveal and celebrate what Londoners feel passionate about in their own little pocket of the capital.”