Already proving hugely popular, St Paul on St Paul’s Road, Islington is a new licensed cafe / coffee shop with a relaxed and neighbourly feel, providing a popular informal destination for local residents and visitors alike.
With a strong all-day offer, St Paul is open from morning through to evening, catering for a grab & go breakfast, leisurely lunch, coffee and cake in the afternoon, or a beer or glass of wine in the evening.
The daytime menu features breakfast, sandwiches, toasties, snacks, pastries and cakes, whilst the evening menu includes charcuterie and cheese, light meals and bar snacks and the drinks menu offers coffee, juices, soft drinks, wine, beer and select spirits.
Provenance and simplicity are key, using good quality ingredients to serve uncomplicated hearty fare.
Designers for the project to create the new venue were Central Design Studio, who also invested in the start-up business. Also playing a key role in the project was main contractor Teodore Onaci.
The 30-cover venue was originally a butcher’s shop in the 1950s and St Paul owner Mark Wood was instantly attracted to its potential when he saw that it had become available.
Mark Wood said: “I live nearby and had walked past many times admiring this beautifully located old glass fronted shop with its south facing frontage and original tiling, so when I saw it had become available I was immediately interested.”
He added that the original tiles have been retained and refurbished, and that a central island counter displaying cakes and patisserie with bottle fridges beneath, serves as a focal point for the interior. Furnishing includes marble and wooden topped tables, reconditioned and reclaimed chairs and a line of banquettes in the window.
Another key feature is a top of the range of a coffee machine to appeal to connoisseurs – combined with superb Wi-Fi and a south-facing window which provides a pleasant sun trap and maximises natural light within.
The venue is also very family friendly with a baby changer provided in the toilets and dogs being welcome.
Mark Wood added: “We opened with no marketing whatsoever and have been full ever since – St Paul has been very well received by locals and attracts a good passing trade too.”
Ian Haigh, owner of Central Design Studio said: “Mark and I have known each other for around 10 years and have worked together in the past on a range of projects.
“The design brief was simple – to create a relaxed neighbourhood cafe in an area with a high footfall and a strong neighbourhood feel. In addition, we needed to design something adaptable to daytime and evening use.”
The design was inspired by Mark and his Yorkshire roots – going back to basics to provide a venue reflecting his desire to serve ‘proper’ high quality food in a friendly atmosphere. This prompted the design palette which included lots of natural materials and ‘chunky’ practical detailing. The original tiling was skilfully refurbished, together with the beautiful old shopfront windows.
Ian Haigh said: “One of the main challenges of the project was the tight budget and we needed to be conscious of this throughout the project – not throwing anything away that could be used again and sourcing some chapel chairs and other items at competitive prices. It also helped that the builder did a fantastic job.
“For us it was an important project, as we like to be involved in small start-ups such as this, as well as working for larger companies worldwide, which provides a nice balance to our work.”