ANGELA’S OF MARGATE A CASE STUDY: USING ONLY A HARRISON CHARCOAL OVEN FOR THE WHOLE MENU.
In the spring of 2017 Lee Coad, his partner Charlotte and chef Rob Cooper had decided to take the plunge and open the ethical fish restaurant they had been planning, in the seaside town Margate in Kent.
Margate is undergoing huge regeneration as many young families and creative and artisan businesses are moving down from London to settle and get involved in what is fast becoming the most relevant creative neighbourhood in the UK.
While Lee and co were hatching their restaurant plans, Harrison Oven’s founders Daniel and Natalie Thumwood had just moved to Margate themselves.
Margate Old Town is a ramshackle mix of vintage shops, restaurants, cafes and art galleries, just across the seafront from the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. When a tiny space, which was a greasy spoon called Angela’s, came up for rent Lee and co jumped at the chance to make this petite but perfect space the home of their new restaurant.
The position is sensational and has a full view of the stunning Margate Sands Beach, along with the incredible skies that Turner loved to paint. They even decided to keep the name 'Angela’s', as they felt they didn’t want to change things in the Old Town too much, they loved it just the way it was.
A few weeks into the project, it was revealed that there was not enough electricity or gas supply into the building for them to power the ovens they wanted to buy. Fortunately, this realisation coincided with Lee seeing something on social media about a charcoal oven company moving down from London to Margate. This got him and Rob thinking about using alternative fuel sources for their restaurant. Lee quickly contacted Harrison Ovens whilst they were literally in the middle of moving the business down to their new unit in Ramsgate, which is just along the coast from Margate.
As soon as the Angela’s team saw the Harrison Oven, they were sold. The tiny open kitchen at Angela’s is on view to everybody, even from the street so to have something that gorgeous looking was a total win for them. Daniel, Natalie and the Angela’s team spent the rest of the day cooking locally caught fish and local veg from The Goods Shed on the Harrison and the start of a wonderful collaboration commenced.
Chef Rob had experience cooking on with charcoal, but obviously he needed to do some menu development before Angela’s opened, but he didn’t have a kitchen space to do it in. Natalie and Daniel stepped in and offered him the use of the Harrison Demo/test kitchen. Rob and sous chef Will Burnett spent quite a few days at Harrison HQ experimenting with the Harrison, trying out many different fish and vegetables in the oven and being completely blown away by cooking speed, moisture and flavour retention. They used Daniel and Natalie as tasters for the new menu, which certainly didn’t cause any complaints from them!
Angela’s menu concept is all about ethically sourced products and minimum waste, in order to have as little impact on the environment as they can. All their fish is locally caught from suppliers with ethical fishing credentials. Their waste goes off to their own composter that is stationed at The Windmill Community Gardens in Margate. WCG is an amazing space where people with all kinds of disabilities work with volunteers to grow fruit and veg that they sell and deliver to the local Margate community. The waste from Angela’s goes back on to the land to grow the produce that Angela’s buy back for their restaurant. Their Harrison Oven seems to fit well with this concept as it is local (no transport emissions), handmade in a tiny workshop and Rob only uses natural solid fuels, which are purchased from local 100% sustainable charcoal providers.
3 months on and Angela’s is a roaring success. You have to be very lucky to get a table at weekends and the reviews are incredible. When you walk in you get such a gorgeous aroma of fish cooked on real fire; smoky fish. As well as Rob and Will’s incredible menu, customers are also very interested in the Harrison Oven and the guys spend quite a bit of time explaining what it is and how it works. Natalie and Daniel eat at Angela’s often and have taken all family members and visitors there to enjoy the best food in Margate, as well as show one of their ovens working in action.
Here’s a review from a very happy Angela’s customer: