Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Nouveau Quiche - a co-operative restaurant in 1980s New Cross

Nouveau Quiche was apparently a co-operative restaurant at 301 New Cross Road, this advert is from Marxism Today, 1986 and promises 'Cordon Rouge catering for all occasions'.  A 'TGWU recognised workers co-op' no less (the Transport and General Workers Union was one of the largest trade unions at the time, it later became part of Unite).

I asked on twitter and facebook for memories of this place and got a few interesting comments:

'My memory is a bit hazy but they must have been doing vegetarian food, otherwise we wouldn't have gone, and the decor was fashionable for the mid-80s, lots of matt black etc. I think they did actually serve quiche. In those days the area was a culinary mix of the well-established Indian, Chinese, Turkish etc, but if you wanted something different there was nowhere local to go'.

'I was an education development worker at a homelessness project in New Cross Road during the mid 80s, and some of my colleagues used to go there. I think we had meetings there as well'.

There were other radical food places in this period including Brockley Bean, the vegetarian/wholefood co-op in  Coulgate Street. Nice to see that the daughter of one of those involved has opened a cafe of the same name in Wrexham. 

In the 1990s there was the great Heathers vegan restaurant in Deptford, home of anti-apartheid benefits and fantastic food which I must return to another time. With the widespread availability of vegetarian/vegan food today it is hard to remember the days when you had to make your own humous or do without. Hard to remember too perhaps how much these alternative food spaces overlapped with radical political movements, in the case of Nouveau Quiche perhaps late period Communist Party of Great Britain in its Marxism Today phase with its designer socialist aesthetic and its questioning of Stalinist certainties

Interestingly in the 2000s there was a really good Indian restaurant a few doors down in New Cross Road called Nouveau Spice - inspired by a memory of the radical quiche-ists?

Update, December 2022:

From Greenwich Lesbian and Gay Centre Newsletter 1986 - 'Nouveau Quiche opened late '85 in New Cross Road.... With lovely decor and good vegetarian food, it offers a warm welcome to lesbians and gay men. Noueau Quihce are also sponsoring our benefit night on 1st March, offering a meal for two with a bottle of wine as one of the draw prizes'

I also found a review in the book 'Sarah Brown's Vegetarian London'(1988) though strangely the text mislocates it in Dartford! (assume they meant Deptford). Seems it wasn't exclusively vegetarian but veggie positive

The restaurant also features in 'Egon Ronay's Bird's Eye guide to healthy eating out' (1987). Seemingly its 'healthy, hearty and highly imaginative' menu included Ghanain nut stew and walnut-stuffed aubergines.

1 comment:

anonymous john said...

Heathers! How I miss Heathers ...