Katy Taylor is leading the NW5 food revolution with her boutique bakery Bunny Little's in Tufnell Park, and even Nigella herself is a fan. We sat down with Katy to chat food vs. fashion, Team Nigella, and the return of the sausage roll...
Something is occurring in this pocket of North West London. Once just the scruffy bit above Camden, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park are fast emerging as major players in the London cuisine scene. Soho House have opened Pizza East, Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger on Highgate Road; the Bull and Gate is being showered with gastro praise, and even Giles Coren lives here (and regularly attends a Sunday night pub quiz with Sue Perkins, we hear).
Local-girl-done-good Katy Taylor spotted this gap and opened boutique bakery Bunny Little's on Campdale Road in September 2013. Already a hit with the locals (who were soaking up the sun on the tables outside when we visited), Katy has managed to create a place that feels artisan and stylish without being pretentious. The original tiles and 1950s music give the place a retro feel, while the enormous neon ‘Food is my Fashion' sign stops it falling into dangerous themed-diner territory. They're also quick to adapt to trends and events - for Wimbledon they rolled out the bunting and Astroturf, made themed cakes and even popped a TV in the window so passers-by would never miss a serve.
Finding a decent bakery can sometimes be a bit of a task, but the selection of food available at Bunny Little for breakfast and lunch is varied, and dangerously moreish. Everything is made on site by friendly head chef Claire Assis, who previously worked at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, and as a private chef for the Jordanian Royal Family. Croissants, cakes and brownies jostle for space alongside artisan sausage rolls, and everything we tried (for the sake of research, of course) was delicious and reasonably priced for a generous portion. Dietary needs are also taken into account with gluten-free products and an awareness of ingredients such as sugar, but they avoid falling into the quinoa warrior territory adopted by so many.
After a top-notch iced coffee and a fat slice of cake, we sat down to quiz Kate on the story behind Bunny Little's...
How did Bunny Little's begin?
I've always been a massive foodie, and like many people dreamed of opening my own bakery one day. I had been working in fashion as an editor and a stylist for years but felt like it was time for a change, and when this place came up round the corner from my house at the right price it seemed like fate! We also felt like there was a gap in the market for a place like this in the area, somewhere stylish but with substance too, and where everything is cooked on the premises.
We've only been open since late last year so there is still loads to do, but we're really happy with how it's going so far.
Moving from food to fashion seems like an unusual choice given the latter's aversion to eating. What's the connection between food and fashion for you?
For me the connection is in styling, aesthetics and trends. My background in fashion trained me to concentrate on tiny details, select good products and be aware of visual presentation, all of which have translated really well when designing and choosing items for the bakery. Spotting trends in food is also similar to spotting trends in fashion, and this has become increasingly important with the rise of street markets, food photography and experimental recipes.
We heard lots of things about your Team Nigella cupcakes last year - what's the story behind those?
I'm always telling this story – Nigella must be sick of hearing about it! Basically I'm a huge fan of her work and during the trial we made some ‘Team Nigella' cupcakes and tweeted them at her. They generated a great response and she actually messaged me to say thank you for the support and retweeted the article, which was so kind of her.
Apart from famous domestic goddesses, who are your typical customers?
It completely depends on the time of day. We get a lot of people who work from home and local mums during the week, and during the weekend a lot of families come down to have breakfast and lunch. We also offer basic, mid-range and luxury picnic hampers that you can take to the park opposite, which are particularly popular with groups on the weekend!
What does the future hold for Bunny Little's?
Plenty! Because we make everything on site we've got loads of scope to do anything we want, so we're currently looking into loads of new products, such as smoothies, alcoholic lollipops, and our own range of artisan products like oils, jams and marshmallows. We've got a small deli section at the moment but want to expand this to maybe add a baking section, and we're also starting to offer catering for kids parties and bespoke cakes. Evening pop-ups is another thing we're considering as we have an alcohol licence.
If possible we would love to expand the premises at some point too, but are concentrating on getting this place just right first!
What are your favourite items in the bakery?
That's a tough one! I'd have to say our rhubarb and polenta cake with edible flowers, our cinnamon buns with cherry and chocolate chip, and our sausage rolls, which have surprisingly become our biggest seller at the bakery. We do three types: chilli, spinach and ricotta, and pork and apple, so nothing like Greggs! They're particularly popular for brunch - you can't beat a sausage roll for curing a hangover.
Have you considered doing baking classes and tutorials?
That's something we're looking into at the moment actually. We'd love to do both kids and adults lessons, and we've also got Claire available to go to people's houses and teach them at home.
What's your favourite place to eat in Tufnell Park?
Definitely Del Parc, a tiny Spanish restaurant on Archway Road. There's no menu, they just bring out dish after dish of beautiful homemade Spanish food while you relax with a glass of sherry and some red wine. There are no decisions involved – it's heavenly. They even individually stuff their olives!
Thanks to Katy Taylor and Sophie Heywood.
Want to try some of Katy's creations at home? Check out her Raspberry Meringue Kiss recipe here.