Sarit Packer: “For us, baking has always been a big part of what we do”

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Sarit Packer, co-founder of Middle Eastern restaurant group Honey & Co. on the launch of their new café concept Honey & Co. Daily

Related tags Honey & Co. Daily Honey & Co. Itamar Srulovich Middle eastern cuisine Sarit Packer Casual dining Chef Pastry bakery Multi-site

The co-founder of Middle Eastern restaurant group Honey & Co on the launch of their café concept, Honey & Co Daily, and London’s voracious appetite for baked goods

How did opportunity for Honey & Co Daily come about?
The site came up when we were coming up to the end of the lease of the original Honey & Co. site and looking to relocate the restaurant. London properties can take a long time to come through. We had seen the site on Lamb's Conduit Street that we really liked; and there was also this site, on Store Street, which we were interested in. We put down offers on both. Lamb’s Conduit went through fast and we managed to turn it around quickly too and relaunch Honey & Co​, but then our offer on the Store Street site was accepted too and we just loved the space so much we decided to take it.  We had been looking for an opportunity to centralise all our bakery production in one location for some time, in order to give our restaurants some breathing room, and this is equidistant between the new Honey & Co. and our other restaurant, Honey & Smoke. It’s a nice, big space, and it made sense as it was going to be our bakery that we would operate it as a light café with more of a takeaway focus.

What’s the biggest differences between running Honey & Co, which is primarily a daytime operation, and your restaurant sites?
At the moment the big thing is trying to work out when it’s going to be busy and when it’s not. We had in our heads that all of London works in the office Tuesday to Thursday, so that would be our busiest time, but then suddenly we can have a crazy Monday or Friday. So, we’re still figuring it out. There are other things too, like making sure there’s a flow between takeaway and eat in customers. And it’s also our first time not taking bookings, which is a big thing for us and means working out how long people need for a table and making sure everyone who does want to eat in are able to.


What about the supper clubs you have planned, presumably you’ll be taking bookings for those?
Yes. We’ll be hosting supper clubs on Friday and Saturday nights, and for special holiday celebrations, with tickets being released to those on the Honey & Co mailing list. The first one is in a couple of weeks, and we’re excited to be able to utilise the space in the evening. It looks so beautiful when its dark and we have all the candles out. And it’s great as it gives us the chance to cook with other chefs and friends, and make some different food too.

As well as using Honey & Co Daily to centralise your bakery production, will you also be using it as a space to test new bakes?
A lot of it is actually going back to the recipes to cakes and breads and bakes that we left along the way as we got too busy to do them every day, and that’s been really fun. For me, though, a big focus is also seasonal development. At the moment I’m working on a fig bun wrapped in marzipan that’s then wrapped in challah and baked, which will be made specifically for the menu at Honey & Co Daily. And there’ll be a lot products like that coming out as we get closer to Christmas. It’s nice to have a bit of breathing space and be able to work on more different bakes.

It feels like London’s bakery scene is going from strength to strength at the moment…
It’s really interesting. We had a customer the other day who didn’t believe we made all our stuff in house and said all the bakeries are in east London. People aren’t used to anyone using central London real estate as a place to bake. For us the baking has always been a big part of what we do. A lot of the growth within the London market is very French leaning, focused on laminated pastries like croissants and Danishes, and we don’t really do any of that. We specialise in Middle Eastern-style soft breads like challah and sweet buns. And it’s what customers want; particularly at the moment, it’s a way to spoil yourself without spending too much money.


How has the relocation of Honey & Co gone?
It was honestly the best thing that could have happened to us to be kicked out of the original site. We loved it there, but it was really small, which made the logistics of the kitchen so hard. It was tiny, and we were doing 150 to 200 covers there daily. It was exhausting. Now we have more space for our team and for our guests, so it’s more comfortable for everyone. It’s such a beautiful location; the site is lovely and bright, which fits the Middle Eastern sensibility a bit more. It’s a strange thing that happened to us, but a really good thing and it’s going really well.

Are there any plans on the horizon to grow the business further?
Potentially at some stage we’ll move Honey & Spice to a larger location, but beyond that we’re not really thinking about other sites at the moment or moving out of the area we’re in. At the moment we’re able to jump on our bikes and be between all of our sites within 10 minutes, I don’t see us spreading out across London or beyond. It’s not our style. Being able to reach people nationwide through our webstore is amazing, but it’s not so much about turning that into bricks and mortar.

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