Natasha Cooke and Lucy Pedder have brought culinary ingenuity and lashings of conviviality to their small, café-style restaurant in Union Street. Locals, critics and the taste cognoscenti all love to eat at Lupins.
Like its creators, its clientele, and the neighbourhood it lives in, Lupins is unpidgeonhole-able. Owned and run by young female chefs Natasha Cooke and Lucy Pedder, this small, café-style restaurant on Union Street serves seasonal British tasting plates with a ‘Californian’ inﬂuence. The pair had visited the West Coast and both liked its casual dining style, and the collision of ﬂavours from Mexico, Japan and the Mediterranean.
They imported the formula and applied it, with ﬂavours from around the world, to great British produce. Fresh native ingredients are conjured into an imaginative and ever-changing menu of small plates made to share, like Cornish crab thermidor – a molten cheese and crustacean mash-up – or oysters with ﬁery Thai Sriracha sauce and tangy lime butter.
Seasonal British tasting plates
Consistently good food and a laidback, sociable setting have earned Lupins an army of local fans and lunch-tripping professionals since the restaurant opened in 2017, a following that’s grown on a wave of rave reviews in the national press, led by The Times food critic Giles Coren. “When we came here we underestimated the power of the locals,” says Natasha. “People love coming back, because it’s not super fancy – it’s somewhere they can come when they can’t be bothered to cook dinner.”
So who comes to brunch, lunch and dinner? Book a lunchtime table and you might meet some of those Times readers who moved here when it was just up and coming, City workers, and ad agency people. In the evenings, the local theatre crowd come from the Menier, Bridge and Globe. There’s a devoted local gay fanbase, too. “It’s an interesting dynamic, a real mix,” says Natasha. “It’s always busy and buzzy, but it’s quite cosy.”