Siblings to open south London restaurant after crowdfunding success

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Melanie and Robin Frean, whose first restaurant will open in Streatham next month
Melanie and Robin Frean, whose first restaurant will open in Streatham next month

Related tags: Chef

A brother and sister are to open a south London restaurant next month after raising more than £10,000 through a crowdfunding initiative.

Melanie and Robin Frean will soft-launch Hood, a modern British food dining concept, from a restored Edwardian building on Streatham Hill towards the end of February.

The kitchen is to be run by Mike Brown, who was formerly senior sous chef at Le Caprice, the Mayfair restaurant owned by Caprice Holdings.

The premises, which has a retail space of 300 sq ft, will include a designated bar area that will serve a selection of craft ales and European wines, plus a limited number of spirits. Around 10 full and part-time staff are to be employed.

A retail site for more than 60 years, and most recently an Indian restaurant before it closed 12 months ago, the Freans have sub-leased the property for an extended period. 

Free tokens​ 

Melanie Frean said that while the crowdfunding exercise, which rewarded contributors with free meal and drinks tokens – wasn’t “make or break” when it came to opening the business.

However, she added that it had achieved double their target figure of £5,000, enabling them to install air conditioning as well as an EPoS system from provider iPOS.

She explained: “Our crowdsourcing project proved to be really successful, and it was really heartening that so many people from Streatham pledged money.

“It’s important to us, because first and foremost, we want to be a neighbourhood restaurant. As much as anything, it proved to be a brilliant branding and PR exercise.” 

Steady approach​ 

Frean, who works in corporate finance, said the pair were keen to take on further restaurants but “won’t be prepared to run before they can walk”.

“In my area of work, I’ve seen many companies overstretch themselves and do too much – so we’ll take it slowly and make sure we get this concept right first.”

On becoming a head chef for the first time, Brown said: “Every chef dreams of their own restaurant and meeting Robin and Melanie has enabled me to realise mine and get behind the stove in my own kitchen.

“I've been a resident of Streatham Hill and the surrounding area for about eight years and it’s brilliant to be starting something so exciting on my doorstep.

“I'm looking forward to putting a bit of my personality into a diverse, interesting and delicious menu.” 

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