The new venture is the latest project from Julian Porter and his partner Lauren Heaphy, who opened M1LK in 2012. Fields will be located on Rookery Road and will offer views out over Clapham Common. The café will have 30 covers inside and a heated terrace area outdoors which will sit 80 more people. It will also have its own roof garden where Porter intends to grow produce and herbs to use in the café.
“We opened M1LK in February 2012, and we never expected it to get as busy as it did so quickly,” explained Porter. “And so we’ve been looking to find somewhere exciting to open a second site for a while. When this opportunity came along we rushed at it.
“It’s a beautiful location and it’s very unique, there’s not many like it in London at all. It’s directly in the middle of Clapham Common, so there are fields all around it. It has a wonderful energy about it.”
Simple and local
The café’s interior is being designed by Porter and Heaphy, with an aim to keep things simple and natural. They are focusing on craftsmanship and the café will feature hand blown glass lights, bespoke Formica booth tables and a custom-made Kees Van Der Western espresso machine.
The colour scheme will be soft and pastel, and Heaphy’s ‘Like Lois’ collage art will be displayed on the walls, alongside work by other local artists. Local graffiti artists will also be invited to exhibit on the outside of the building, while children who live in the vicinity will be able to grow vegetables in the café’s nursery garden, all intended to create a feel of community. Alongside this, produce will be sourced as locally as is possible.
“I am quite passionate about the idea of sourcing something unique to where we’re from,” said Porter. “We’re trying to use things as ultra-local as possible. For example, our bread is baked five minutes down the road in Brixton and of course we’ll be growing our own herbs and produce.”
The food at Fields will be inspired by the sites location, and Porter only intends to serve dishes that he himself would love to eat. The café will have its own smoker, and earthy elements such as hay, peat and leaves will be used while cooking.
The menu will include dishes such as Coal-grilled sausage bao and kewpie with pickled shallot and iceberg, Peat-smoked mutton and beans with garden herb butter and sourdough, and Smashed peas with hay-smoked goat’s curd, garden herbs and sourdough. There are also a number of sweet options on offer. Prices will range from £5 for smaller plates to £10 for larger dishes.
Fields will also place a strong emphasis on its coffee offering, serving specialty coffee from Workshop Coffee Co. and Koppi of Sweden. The café’s barista team will cold press its own organic almond milk, and other drinks on offer include heritage apple juice, wild nettle pressé and homemade ginger beer. Alcoholic slushies and a selection of natural wines and local beers will also be served.