I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I took on the hut. Each phase since then has been quite distinct, which has certainly kept things interesting.
Phase One – August 2016-February 2017 was ‘research’… and the menu didn’t change too much while we worked out what people wanted – but the ingredients started to change straight away. The thinking was – if we’re going to offer bacon sandwiches, (and who doesn’t love a bacon sandwich?), then they are going to be the best bacon sandwiches possible!
So the job of finding the very best bread (@lovinglyartisan) and bacon (@mackenziessmokehouse) was underway. It wasn’t hard either… I just went to my favourite places (like @homegroundcafe) and asked them who supplied their delicious ingredients. And people were so generous that the recommendations didn’t stop at the basic ingredients. In fact a whole debate kicked off about which sauce works best with a perfect bacon sandwich. Hot contenders are @MrVikkis Chilli Jam, or @cartmellfarmfoods Damson Ketchup – so both are now staples at the hut.
Phase one – top right…
Phase Two – March 2017 – was ‘re-fit’… and any notion that I might have free time to even think about our menu while the guts were ripped out of the hut and it was transformed into a lovely kitchen, were fanciful!
Phase Three – April 2017 to date – has been all about working in the new space – and planning phase four of course! First we had to get used to everything being new. In fact the only piece of kit we kept from ‘pre-refit’ was a water boiler, so there was a steep learning curve to climb from the day we re-opened. Ironically then, the very first thing we did with all the fancy new kit, was trim back the menu to the basics again.
Since then the range of things on the menu has gradually evolved, with the common thread of ‘handmade treats’. To assure the quality of everything, we make it ourselves = handmade. So all of the the baking is home-baking (or hut-baking to be more precise – you’ll often find the lights burning into the night on the riverbank Thursday/Friday and Saturday as the baking is done for the next day). And we hope that what we turn out is a treat – because our customers deserve treats!
The current menu has things for breakfast – and mid morning scones, Fatboys of course – and Frittata, afternoon cakes and ice cream.
The big question now is… do we need a ‘thing’? A riverbank equivalent of Betty’s Fat Rascals or Grasmere Gingerbread. Something that you can only get on the riverbank, and something that reflects everything we’re about.
So as planning for phase four gets underway, so does the hunt is on for our ‘thing’. Suggestions welcome!