his autumn saw the opening of Henrietta Inman at Yardarm, a one-year residency at 240 Francis Road, replacing Kettle & Ryan, former occupants of the space. Foodies with a love of baking will likely be familiar with Henrietta, a pastry chef and cookery teacher with two books and numerous magazine and newspaper features to her name.
Within weeks of opening Henrietta’s residency has become a popular daytime hangout and insta-smash, with Symmetry Breakfast stopping by and snapping one of their signature seeing-double shots of their brekkie (fried eggs, homemade soda bread and a side of seasonal veg FYI).
Having her own place has been a long-held dream. “I trained as a pastry chef after university, then went onto working in kitchens for five years, then five years freelance, writing books, teaching and cooking for various events and pop-ups,” she explains. When a mutual friend introduced her to Dan and Eliza of Yardarm and the possibility of residency came up, she knew she had to jump at the chance to make her dream reality.
The café is open from 10am until late afternoon, Tuesday through Sunday offering a mainly vegetarian menu that celebrates the seasons and utilizes high quality ingredients, many of which are from local suppliers.
“I grew up in Suffolk, always being aware of the importance of cooking with the seasons and using local producers – these factors form the backbone of my cooking and the ethos of the café,” explains Henrietta. “We use OrganicLea and Sarah Green’s Organics in Essex for fruits and vegetables, UK grains like spelt from Sharpham Park, wheat from Shropshire and pulses and seeds from East Anglia through Hodmedods. Our dairy is from Northiam Dairy and our chocolate is from Pump Street Chocolate, both stocked by Eliza and Dan also.”
Breakfast is served until a very civilized 2pm, lunch starts at 12.30 and cakes are on the menu all day. “The breakfast menu includes things like wholegrain spelt, caramelised red onion and cheddar scones with scrambled eggs and salmon, seasonal greens and eggs and lots of porridges, homemade granola and our fresh soda bread. Lunch is seasonal salads, soups, quiches and pies. We have cakes, tarts, brownies and crumbles on the counter throughout the day.”
The vibe is relaxed and welcoming. A central counter is piled high with freshly baked tarts, pies and quiches; seating is a mixture of banquettes and green leather armchairs at either side of the tables, with five tables at either side of the room.
Fresh flowers on the tables – a mixture of plants from Henrietta’s home and Helen at Edie Rose – provide a hit of pretty. Crockery is a mixture of classic white hand-thrown porcelain bowls by Karen Downing and pretty vintage floral crockery rummaged from antique shops.
On our last visit we shared spiced carrot and parsnip soup, fennel and cheese quiche and roast cauliflower with pesto, plus a glass of Vignerons Esterzargues red (me) and a Pressure Drop IPA (him). The soup was spiced with cardamom, coriander and cumin seeds and topped with quince chutney, yoghurt and came with fresh baked bread and butter on the side. It was a comforting winter-warmer of a dish, the spices giving the English root vegetables a sunny climes flavour-boost.
The super-deep quiche featured a cheesy duo of Baron Bigod brie and White Lake goat’s cheese which provided a punchy contrast to the roast fennel, while the wholewheat walnut pastry was crumbly and delicious. Roast cauliflower has appeared on many a restaurant menu this year: topped with a pesto of thyme, dill, pistachio and feta-like London Fettle this was my favourite iteration of the dish to date.
Henrietta will be opening in the evenings from January. “I’ll be cooking and welcoming some wonderful chefs for some special one-offs,” she says. Keep an eye on her Insta for more details.
Main image: Patricia Niven