In this week’s ‘Thursday Trader Talk’ we hear from Nicki Gillon, stylist and art director turned restauranteur. Find The Kitchen in unit 9 at Hatch:
12-4pm Monday and Tuesday
12-9pm Wednesday to Saturday
12-6pm every Sunday
The name of my space/restaurant is: The Kitchen.
We sell/make/create: Thessaloniki street food.
I/we got started: We launched our restaurant in 2017.
I take inspiration from: We are often described as Greek but although Greek, we are a Thessaloniki Greek restaurant… We are hugely inspired by the culinary capital of Greece, this city is vibrant, eclectic and full of young chefs using the most amazing Mediterranean products but pulling away from the traditional. Not reinventing the wheel, but more saying I loved my grandma’s food but I’m here to show you what we can create now.
My/our typical day: We have two restaurants (one in West Houghton, one at Hatch) and running them is fast paced, brilliant and overwhelming at times. We can be up at 7am and not go to sleep until 11pm. Creating menus, events, watching or eating for inspiration. Typically we have down time which is great as we’ve built a strong team; this is crucial and gives us a chance to work on menus, interiors and any unusual food we need to source.
Before I did this I: myself (Nicki) was and still am a fashion stylist. I do less shoots these days but it’s still a part of my life. It helps me stay creative and unbeknownst to me it helps to be creative in the restaurants too. Food and fashion are definitely similar…. Ody (my partner) was a chef, training under some of Thessalonikis’ famous chefs, he then moved to England to progress and worked at a prestigious restaurant before opening The Forest restaurant together. I said, ‘I’ll design it, you cook it!!’
The best thing about my job is: people, people getting, understanding and appreciating what we do!! Nothing beats it.
The worst thing about my job is: people… Unfortunately we can’t be everything for everyone. We often say we wish someone would create an app like TripAdvisor to review customers haha.
Favourite item on our menu right now: I’m loving our new Pork Tacos… You might not know this but these pork tacos started in Lebanon and Greece, eventually being taken to Mexico City…
You should visit us to discover/taste/experience: of Thessaloniki… It’s a place of interesting combinations. I’m forever blown away by the flavour and excitement in the food every time I visit.
My favourite thing about Hatch is: what’s not to love, there’s a community spirit, a different place every two steps and an indoor/outdoor alfresco vibe.
In my spare time: we eat, eat, eat… As much as we can.
My top tip to other independent traders would be: Dive in, take the risk, be firm in your style, your ethos. If you believe in it, so will they.