Benugo founder Hugo Warner to open Market Café in London's Broadway Market
Hugo Warner, founder of café-to-restaurant operator Benugo, is to open his first solo venture after leaving the company in 2010.
Market Café, which will open in Broadway Market in east London in March, will recreate the spirit of the classic Italian "Formica" café of the 1950s.
It will have a 60-seat dining room as well as a more informal 45-seat café-bar area and a 20-seat terrace.
Interiors will be developed by east London architect Joe Hagan, whose other projects have included Bocca di Lupo in Soho. Design elements will include reclaimed tongued and grooved booth seating, Formica tabletops, restructured chairs and a vintage chocolate cabinet.
The kitchen will be headed up by John Adams, who joins Market Café from the River Café and previously worked at Canteen, Fifteen and St John.
The menu will be a mix of food from London and Italy, with dishes ranging from tagliatelle and meat sauce to steak and kidney pudding, truffled rarebit, doughnuts and hot chocolate and homemade ice-cream. Additionally, Warner is currently negotiating on a site for a butcher, which as well as supplying the meat for the café will cure and smoke its own range of charcuterie.
Commenting on the launch of Market Café, Warner said: "Often dismissed as greasy spoons and poor relations to their Continental counterparts, these working-class, Formica cafés once lubricated and nourished a whole post-war generation of writers, artists, musicians and crime lords, and galvanized British cultural life.
"These places were where ordinary people could afford to eat and experience what was in its day exotic food - the first espresso-based coffee and hand-made ice-cream."
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By Kerstin Kühn
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