We are Lowlander Grand Café – a small and, can we stress, entirely independent Bar and Brasserie company based in Covent Garden, dedicated to bringing the best of Dutch and Belgian Café Culture to London.
So what do they mean by ‘the Best of Dutch and Belgian Café Culture’?
Well, if you’ve ever travelled through the Low Countries (or much of Northern Europe, come to that) you’ll have come across a fair few historical central town squares. These ‘Grand Places’ or ‘Grote Markts’ are at the heart of a town’s community, where over hundreds of years townsfolk have come to celebrate, protest, wed, shop or to see and be seen. Along with a church, the town hall and a weekly market, a staple feature of the town square is the Grand Café – the imposing and elegant bar meets restaurant meets coffee-house where generations have come to eat and drink.
Whether there for a brief morning coffee taking a respite from shopping, doing a bit of business over a well deserved lunch, or simply enjoying the companionship of their friends over a few relaxing drinks, the Grand Café is acknowledged by its diverse clientèle as a social institution, an irreplaceable part of continental urban life.
So picture the scene – you’re sitting at your table watching the world go by, with a deliciously complex and beautifully balanced Trappist beer in front of you. A smartly attired, efficient and friendly waiter brings you a plate of steaming moules marinieres accompanied by a bowl of crisp, golden fries. A menu of a hundred other beers to choose from next, Maybe a waffle and ice cream to follow – why not? You’ve been good this week. For this moment in time, at least, all seems well with the world!
Sounds good? We think so, and this is what they’re looked to ‘bottle’ and bring to London.
The Lowlander story
The Lowlander story itself begins in 2001 with the opening of the first Grand Café on Drury Lane in the midst of London’s Theatreland. Over the past years we have been thrilled to gain the ever-increasing support of wonderfully loyal and appreciative customers, who share our love of the Grand Café culture and who buy into the associated values this culture entails, namely:
That if you’re going to serve beer (and wine!) take the trouble to serve the good stuff – and with as much care and attention as the people who made it in the first place. Help folk decide what they might want to try but without the heavy sell.
That food should be freshly prepared by chefs who are passionate about both their craft and their ingredients. The menu should challenge and excite, but also acknowledge that sometimes we’re in the mood for a great burger or steak, or just fancy some cheese or fries to soak up the beer.
That hospitality means just that. Drinkers as well as diners deserve full table service. Trust the guests to pay for what they’ve had when they are through – not every time a new round of drinks arrives. Keep the music to a level that lets conversation flow – a Grand Café isn’t a night club. Everyone should feel comfortable here.
So to the future: We’re keen to put another few Lowlanders out there. So watch this space .. and if you know of an opportunity that might suit us, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org they’ll pay you a finder’s fee if the project gets off the ground.