Tucked away out of sight on Frederick’s Place, Where's Fred's, an intimate cafe, coffee and wine bar, is to open tomorrow in the heart of London. Guests can expect natural wines, espresso martinis, oysters and sharing plates with a Mediterranean inspiration.
It is the latest hospitality venture from Chelsea Finch, the entrepreneur behind the three-strong District group of neighbourhood cafés in Parsons Green, Mayfair and Nine Elms.
Where’s Fred’s will be open from brunch right through to evening, with a menu which changes to suit the time of day, complemented by low-intervention wines chosen by Finch in collaboration with Emma Underwood.
At brunch, dishes will include Pan con tomate with fried eggs; Truffle egg croissant; and Fred’s Loaded Banana Bread, made to Finch’s own recipe and topped with Greek yoghurt, roasted figs and pistachios.
For lunchtime, there will be a choice of sandwiches, one of which will always be vegan, on The Snapery Bakery focaccia, as well as a hearty hot dish – such as Spaghetti vongole or Steak & vintage cheddar pie – to eat in or grab and go.
Then around late-afternoon, the menu will segue into aselection of small and sharing plates, perfectly suited to grazing on individually with a glass of wine, or making a full meal out of.
Star of the evening menu will be the bacon, butter and Worcestershire sauce-topped Oysters Kilpatrick, a favourite way of enjoying them in Finch’s native Australia but which she has struggled to find to the same standard in the UK. Oysters will also be served au naturel and with traditional accompaniments.
Other dishes will include charcuterie boards from Cobble Lane; cheeseboards; Burrata with roasted squash and pesto; and Cannellini beans with cavolo nero and Parmesan.
For the low-intervention winelist, Finch has collaborated with her friend and fellow wine-enthusiast Emma Underwood, well-known within hospitality circles for her senior roles at Where The Light Gets In, Stem, Darby’s and, most recently, Blue Boar and The Pem.
Underwood and Finch have assembled a list of mostly European wines from land-focused producers, grown on healthy, chemical-free vineyards like that of Brand Brothers in Bockenheim, Germany and sourced from suppliers including Under The Bonnet, Les Caves de Pyrene and Winemakers’ Club.
Running to about twenty bins, of which many will be available by the glass – and two on tap – to encourage exploration, the winelist will focus, Emma says, on wines which are “Clean, elegant, fun and fresh.”
Designed, like the food menu, to be inviting and accessible, and to help demystify low-intervention wines for those who might be unsure about them, the list will include some familiar grapes like Riesling and Beaujolais, and well-known names like Chateau Musar.
The signature wine will be Tom Shobbrook’s hard-to-find Poolside, a refreshing, fruity, light red-to-rosé wine from the Barossa Valley, served chilled and sure to evoke the Australian sunshine. Wine prices will range from £27 to £120 a bottle, and from £7 to £15 by-the-glass.
Specialty coffee is a big part of the daytime drinks offering at Where’s Fred’s. Finch has worked closely with Origin Coffee Roasters, which sources mainly direct-trade and know the story behind the coffee growers and farms, the same ethos as applied by Finch and Underwood to the sourcing of wines. This quality coffee will also be used in Espresso Martinis by night. Throughout the first week of opening, all specialty coffees will be available for just £1 each.
Occupying the 750 sq ft ground floor of one of the beautifully-restored townhouses which make up Frederick’s Place (owned by the Mercers’ Company}, by day Where’s Fred’s will be flooded with natural light from tall front windows, a long skylight and a central lightwell.
Finch said, “Where’s Fred’s is an evolution of the things District does so well for daytime – those easy, satisfying brunch dishes that everyone loves, and seriously good coffee – with the addition for evening of great classic cocktails, sociable, shareable food, and of course amazing natural wines.
“As soon as I was shown this magical site by the Mercers’ Company, I knew that I wanted to do something special with it. Frederick’s Place is a charming location that you would mostly find by word-of-mouth; it feels hidden away but is right in the heart of the Square Mile.
“There’s nowhere quite like Where’s Fred’s in the City of London, and I hope that it will quickly become part of the fabric of the community for workers, residents and visitors alike. Everyone’s welcome at Where’s Fred’s!'