Thoughts from October 2010

hat of the week: squid vs robot

In the battle for Southampton only one gang could come out on top, and despite a tough battle, needles at dawn, and a few double purls, Joanne's Technicolour Troopers seized the day. Epic war, Joanne, you'll be needing the smoothies to regain your strength (they'll be on their way).

But now for this week. Bender from Futurama arrived several weeks ago from Alison Dark. He's been sitting in Fruit Towers, making friends and trashing veg pots (and hanging out with Barbie).

Week 6 Alison Dark

But finally we have a worthy adversary for the metallic woollen wonder. Last week we had Stitch London come into Fruit Towers for a knit-in (more to follow soon) where Lauren O'Farrell presented us with this squiffy squiggly squid.

Week 6 Lauren O'Farrell

A gigantic choice awaits you. Many have fallen under the pressure from previous bouts. But this week, you must decide.

Who's it going to be? Place your votes, here.


our veg pots are two

Yesterday, our veg pots reached the grand old age of two.

So to celebrate, we threw a party.


For lunch, you could choose from the risotto, the masala, the curry and the chilli and then to complement each pot, there was rustic Italian fare (cooked meats, olives, party rings and breadsticks),


Indian delights (paneer cheese, bhajis, party rings, nanns and chutney),


Exotic Thai treats (prawns, peanuts, party rings, sweet chilli sauce and tofu chunks)


or Mexican accompaniments (nachos, salsa, tabasco sauce and more party rings)


Pot love was followed by a game of Pass the Pot and Hunt the Silver Pot


Oli and Joe M then hosted a game of Pot Bingo and the National Pottery


After all the fun, we went back to our desks for a bit and then at 4pm, we all had a slice of birthday cake made by Dave's wife.

Bday cake

A very tasty birthday indeed.

how to run an innocent cafe: day one

1. Open the door at 12:30 and make sure the welcome signs are outside


2. Find a hot yet charming maître d' to man the door and welcome people inside


3. Jazz up the loos

Loo love

4. Get someone with very neat handwriting to chalk up the daily menu


5. Serve some cracking food


6. Then let the magic happen

Cafe action


7. After lunch/dinner, make sure there are plenty of innocent staff on hand to chat to people, give them their goody bag on the way out and show them how to use the tally counter

Thumb stamp


8. And if there's no space at the cafe or you need lunch-on-the-go, put a grassy takeaway hatch round the side


And let the lovely Navita serve you a veg pot, a smoothie and a bagful of treats including a tasty blueberry muffin from Scandi Kitchen to be enjoyed with a cup of Teapig tea, followed by some mid afternoon healthy snacks from Bear and Graze and finished off with a packet of the finest natural gum from the good folk at Peppersmith.


Your 5-a-day and some.

All for £5.


9. Repeat at lunchtime and dinner time for 7 days (apart from a rest on Monday) and wait for that tally counter to be well and truly thumbed.

how to put a lettuce wall

Rob, Bobby and Squidge from Rocket Gardens managed to transport the wall of lettuce and tomato hangings down to London in their various bits and then spent all of Wednesday planing everything up.

Here's Rob in the middle of the lettuce wall, planting away with a hand from Squidge (in the red hoody)

Plant it

The lettuce took over a month to grow and was lovingly tended to by Bobby to make sure it was just the right size for the wall. The lettuce he grew is of the mizuna variety and the red one that makes up the number '5' is called Red Knight.

Here's Rob giving it a final trim before it goes up

Trim it

And here's how the cafe looked at about 4pm on Wednesday

Final touches before the big lift

Screw that bit in

Easy now


A final spruce from Squidge


Then it was onto the hanging gardens of Shoreditch

Hanging toms

Potting up all the herbs for the pick-your-own herb gardens on every table.


And then a thorough watering of everything and a good sweep up before heading home.

So please make time to admire Rocket Garden's handiwork if you're heading down to the cafe over the next week and be sure to add some freshly picked herbs to your lunch.

a very grand opening

Parp parp.

The innocent 5 for 5 cafe is now officially open for business.

Last night, we had the opening party. And it was right old knees up.

Under the starlit branches of our portable orchard, posh cocktails made by our friends at Sipsmith were supped, fine ales from the chaps at The Camden Town Brewery quaffed and a canape frenzy ensued when the miniature dishes from Gizzi's menu began to waft past.

The welcome sign handcrafted by Aldworth James & Bond lit the way as guests entered through the mini secret door.


Upon entering, breaths were taken at the sight of the amazing lettuce wall made by Rocket Gardens.

Lettuce wall

Everyone then got a bit fidgety waiting for the canapes to arrive

Food blackboard

The excellent Dave Chandler Band provided the music for the evening.

Dave chandler band

(They're a quintet. Which is 5. Yep. We know)


Lots of people. Mingling. Having a good time. Having a chat. Keeping one eye out for the canapes.

Tansy and annika

And here are the two wonder ladies who pulled the whole thing together - Tansy and Annika - looking proper hot.

Joe M was there too. Looking for free stuff.

Tally canvas
Finally after everyone had drunk, eaten and chatted their full, they were given a party bag with a crumble for one to take home but not before leaving their mark on our massive 5 a day tally counter.

The cafe is now open for business and word on the street (Twitter) is that it is the place to be.

Hopefully see you down there.