Social enterprise Loaf Café & Bakery celebrated Belfast Restaurant Week this week by hosting a special lunch to showcase the very best of local good food.
In attendance was Aisling Ní Labhraí, Executive Director Cultúrlann, Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive Visit Belfast, Howard Hastings, Chair Visit Belfast, Kevin Gamble, Director of Féile an Phobail, Harry Connolly, Executive Director Fáilte Feirste Thiar, Pat Walsh, Owner, Balmoral Hotel and Maeve Monaghan, CEO NOW Group.
Belfast Restaurant Week runs from 8th-16th October and celebrates the best local food and drink on offer in the city. To mark the occasion Loaf is running a special menu which includes colcannon soup with cheese & champ bread and Special Recipe Loaf Sausage Roll with mixed salad, including ingredients harvested from a local community garden.
Loaf is committed to using local produce where possible and you couldn’t get any more local than by using ingredients from a community garden just yards from the café on the Grosvenor Road. As part of the collaboration, Loaf donates coffee grounds and cardboard to the garden in return for deliveries of freshly grown fruit and vegetables such as money maker tomatoes, purple kale, Maris Piper potatoes, Braeburn apples and rhubarb. The staff and trainees at Loaf then use the produce to create all sorts of delicious soups, stews, salads and crumbles for customers.
And it’s not just the community garden gifting the fruits of their labour to the social enterprise. The café also was recently visited by pupils from St Oliver Plunkett Primary School, west Belfast who donated produce from their school garden and GroundWork NI regularly delivers fresh leafy greens from their allotments at Colin Glen.
The Café & Bakery opened last year on a site that had been derelict for ten years and has been impressing customers with its home baking, local produce and welcoming staff.
The popularity of Loaf has been recognised as it received a commendation in the Community Food Award category in the Irish Food Writers Guild Community Food Awards. The awards celebrate and recognise social responsibility in the food sector in Ireland and organisations were shortlisted for their community oriented work in areas as food education, conservation, sustainability or for their charity or other community programmes.
CEO of NOW Group Maeve Monaghan comments, “At Loaf we are passionate about good food and using local produce as much as possible. We were delighted to get involved in Belfast Restaurant Week as it is a great opportunity to celebrate all the good food that is available on our doorsteps.
"We are lucky enough to have a community garden just a stone’s throw from our door who supply us with fresh food that can be picked and made into something delicious the same day by our chefs.
"As a social enterprise, social impact is at the heart of everything we do. The Cafe & Bakery provides jobs and training opportunities for local people and for NOW Group’s catering trainees with learning difficulties. We are delighted that this work has been recognised by the Irish Food Writers Guild and we received a commendation in the Community Food Award category.”
As well as the Café & Bakery Loaf also run an outside catering business that delivers fresh food to homes and businesses in the Greater Belfast area. Loaf Café and Bakery is situated at 307 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, and is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm. For more information on Loaf visit www.loafcatering.com, follow them on Twitter at @LovelyLoaf or like the Facebook page Loaf Catering and Cafes.
Loaf Catering is a social enterprise delivering outside catering across Belfast.