As if anyone in restaurant PR in London needed telling, it be turbulent times out there, with a record number of openings and just as many closings. New concepts and new versions of old ones spring up like new-season mushrooms but for those operators without ironclad business plans and a healthy dose of luck find that they’re chopped down by the remorseless London market just as quickly.
Earlier this month clean-eating queenpin Ella Mills announced the closure of two of her three deli-restaurants, turning a mini-empire into just one site in Marylebone. Turns out even 1.2 million Instagram followers, our own range of foods and best-selling cookbooks can’t save you from the grinder – but there are plenty in London’s restaurant PR world who could have predicted just that. Influencers and celebrities branching out and using their fame to get into the hospitality game is nothing new and failing isn’t either – just ask Jamie Oliver.
So Gizzi Erskine’s first venture as part of Mare Street Market, the “celebration of all things Hackney” which opened this week, has a lot to live up to, in both the positive and negative senses. Created by Barworks and at first with Nuno Mendez in the frame to provide the food, Mare Street Market combines a food hall, “open kitchen” and restaurant with other non-consumables to offer what Gizzi calls “a delicious and creative space”.
Offering goods by local heroes Flying Horse Coffee, florists Rebel Rebel, and Stranger Than Paradise records, as a well as a pop-up which will host a rotating cast of characters, kicking off with the workwear brand recreated for the Instagram age, M.C. Overalls. The shared offering means it’s not just Big G’s clout providing the draw here but a more multi-stranded offering and more of a day out than swift trip to grab a vegan tartelette and loaf of multi-seeded sourdough.
Will it last? It’s a tough call but by throwing in her lot with a decent backer and other brands most often seen on Instagram she’s given Mare Street Market a fighting chance, and in the world of London restaurant PR, if you’re truthful, that’s the very best you can say for an opening. Right now it’s 50% off food, so get yourself down there this Easter weekend and let us know what you think…