From the mountains of Slovakia to the hubbub of Hackney – Martin Kicura has worked in restaurants all over Europe but London feels like home.
The 30-year-old helps run Venerdi, a popular family-owned Italian restaurant in Clapton. It’s the latest business to offer a discount to members of the Local Buyers Club. (15% off - info here)
He said: “Big chains can put more into marketing and PR and squeeze prices down and that makes things harder for family businesses like ours, but it’s the smaller local businesses that have the character, the service and the best food.”
The food at Venerdi is fresh and delicious, from homemade bread to handmade pizzas which are cooked in a wood fired oven as well as daily made fresh egg pasta. They offer an amazing bottomless brunch and Martin has taken great care over which wines to match with the menu.
He added: “I have spent so much time in Italy – every couple of months I would go there for a week or so and I love seeing what Italians are cooking. We make sure the cooking in the restaurant is just as authentic.
“I moved to London 15 years ago while travelling around Europe. It felt like a different world; so different to anywhere else I’d been. I only meant to stay for a year or two. I hate the weather and I couldn’t speak English when I arrived, but England became my home. I love the bars, I love the British culture, politeness and openness.”
Martin, whose family still live in Slovakia, also speaks fluent Polish, Slovak, Czech and German.
“Clapton is growing really fast, I remember seven years ago coming here for the first time – it’s so different now, there’s such a foodie scene here”, he added.
Venerdi is on Chatsworth Road, Clapton in a 100-year-old building which used to be a pub. It’s hugely popular with families and couples and often has live music such as jazz nights. The restaurant was refurbished last year.
They’re about to launch a new Italian wine list, which pairs well with the dishes on the menu and offer new signature and classic cocktails with an Italian twist. There’s also a weekly specials board and staff are experts at recommending the perfect wine-match.
What is the Local Buyers Club?
We're on a mission to help you discover and support the best local and independent businesses.
We've negotiated discounts for our members at dozens of fantastic restaurants, shops, bars and businesses throughout North and East London. We help promote them and raise awareness of the advantages of shopping locally. We also organise and support community initiatives.
Join Local Buyers Club and, for just £12 per year, you'll be helping to support local business and you'll receive a discount card to use at any of the 100+ businesses listed on the site.
Find out how it works and join the club