At Areaworks, connecting with local businesses and people is what we love. So, as soon as our Hackney space was up and running our first port of call was to meet our neighbours and make some friends. Luckily for us, East London is brimming with both new and well-established businesses, and here is where we started a relationship with our new friends, Brindisa. We sat down with owner Monika Linton to find out a little more about Brindisa. Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us a bit about you, what’s your background?
We, Brindisa, began in the 1980s as one of the first pioneers of Spanish food in the UK. My curiosity about Spain was sparked by my father’s stories of journeying around its great cities in the 1950s and sleeping in hay lofts in the countryside as he moved from place to place on his Bateman Motorbike. This spurred me on to learn the language, experience the cultures & discover the food. With years of studying Spanish language behind me I decided to settle in Catalonia for a few years and really get stuck in to the food and the people. I split my time in Spain between the incredible coastline of Gerona, where I worked in a restaurant kitchen, and the high plateau of the inland city of Vich. The ingredients available to me in both places were simply extraordinary. I wanted to bring it back to the UK, especially the cheeses.
Why did you decide to open Brindisa?
At that time in the early 80s people had little or no perception of Spanish food. I wanted to change that. Brindisa began with a box of cheese on a shoestring with the support of my family and UK and Spanish friends.
After selling to chefs and London’s food curious, it soon became time to get our own shop, and we were lucky to get a space in the world famous Borough Market. Here we began to sell our full range to a new audience of shoppers and they encouraged us to start to experiment and to bring in more and more exciting stuff. In 2004 an unexpected opportunity presented itself to me – to take a corner site at Borough Market, an old potato factory, – with all our energy and resources we created London’s first no reservations, traditional tapas bar where we able to put our best foods, recipes and wines on the table for all to enjoy. It has been an extraordinary 30 years slowly growing our family, products, restaurants and shops.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I think you can always see, in retrospect, what you might have done better or what were the biggest challenges. The biggest and most thrilling challenge was that I was venturing into the unknown by promoting Spanish foods and gastronomy; and I am still amazed and delighted at what we have achieved over the last 30 years. It was a big venture – one that paid off. I am delighted to see the tapas restaurants and Spanish food flourish in the UK. My business partner and co-owner, Ratnesh, who has worked on the restaurants with me nearly 15 years, would always say: ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
What’s been the highlight so far?
Oh, that’s a tricky one. I think for me the highlight is creating the family feeling that is at the very core of our business. It’s something I value highly. Brindisa is a huge part of my life, and the only thing that is more important to me is my family; to be able to combine the two makes me feel very fortunate. We hope everyone at Areaworks will feel like part of that family when they pop-by.
Any plans for the future of Brindisa?
We are opening Tapas Brindisa Battersea this Autumn in our 30th year and personally, to have this opportunity to open on the riverside, is a real dream come true. I moved south of the river to Battersea in the early 1990s and used to fall to sleep to the sound of the ducks in the park. In 1990 Brindisa’s first London office was over the river in Tite St. and when Battersea Power Station was first opened for potential businesses around 2008 I toured the building in a hard hat, visited the control room and felt tiny as I gazed up at the vast spaces. 10 years on, this corner of London is getting its long-awaited recognition and we are very excited to be included at this early stage.
In addition, we will continue to find new products and recipes, develop and grow our family and continue to inspire and educate people with the true food and hospitality of Spain.
Describe the menu, any signature dishes?
Our menu is all about tapas – sharing food with a wonderful selection of cured plates and cheeses. Each site is unique, for example at Brindisa Shoreditch we cook a wonderful selection of Alicante inspired rices (paella).
Favourite dish? That is an incredibly difficult one, it would be like picking a favourite child. However, at the moment I am particularly in love with this season’s cheese board which goes perfectly with a fine glass of vino. We have some fantastic summer tapa on the menu featuring Spanish pulses – which are a bit of a passion of mine at the moment. Spain produces some of the most sublime beans and grains which are healthy and hearty – perfect for summer salads.
Areaworks and Brindisa have teamed up to offer all our members a 25% discount on their main menu. We know – hitting the tapas jackpot! Head over to the Brindisa website to check out their menu and make a reservation.
Head over here to book a tour of one of our amazing coworking spaces and find out how to become a member of the Areaworks family, so that you can take advantage of this amazing offer (plus many more!).
Areaworks is a provider of open supportive coworking office spaces in accessible areas throughout London. We don’t believe in stuffy central locations, long commutes, impersonal and uptight environments. We believe there’s a better way of working, and we’re here to make it happen: in our areas, with our areas. We believe in opening up communities that inspire progress and open up opportunities. We offer complete turnkey work place solutions for start-ups, creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. We design our desk coworking to feel open, to encourage collaboration and productivity, to inspire you to think differently. Areaworks currently has two coworking spaces in prime London locations. If you are looking for a coworking space in London, which provides you with the environment and opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals, then we have the perfect place for you.