Young business owner David Hart, of Romford, on travelling to New Zealand but dreaming of a café in Romford

17:40 19 February 2013

David Hart gets to work in the kitchen

David Hart gets to work in the kitchen


David Hart’s skills in the kitchen have seen him working as far afield as New Zealand – but he never could resist a bit of home cooking.

David gives a cucumber the chopDavid gives a cucumber the chop

Despite the tough economic climate, former Emerson Park student David realised his dream of setting up a café back home in Havering last year. Now the 26-year-old is tentatively celebrating a successful first six months.

“It’s always hard, especially in the times we’re in,” he said, “but we’ve advertised ourselves with the Recorder a few times, and along with word of mouth that’s helped the business grow.

“I’d always wanted to be a chef, for as long as I can remember – it’s all I wanted to do as a kid. I was always cooking.

“As soon as I left school I did an apprenticeship with the Academy of Culinary Arts. That lasted three years and I went to work in fine dining up on the Strand.

Young business owner David Hart with sister LouiseYoung business owner David Hart with sister Louise

“From there I went to New Zealand and Australia, and I travelled about and worked in a few restaurants out there – but the next step was to get somewhere local. I always wanted to come back and set up somewhere in Romford.”

The Hart’s Café owner reckons his experience in fine dining marks out the Victoria Road shop as something a bit different.

“Everything’s cooked from fresh and we use local suppliers,” he said. “The menu is quite traditional – we make a different pie every day, liver and onions, sausage casserole and so on – but everything is cooked from scratch.

“It’s like fine dining but I’m trying to strip it back – we’ve got a traditional working man’s café ethic. It comes without the pretension or price of eating out.”

As well as watching his own business develop, David said he was supporting the borough by employing local staff and using suppliers such as Sanderson’s Bakery in Harold Hill and Williams Butchers in Gidea Park.

“We’re still finding our feet,” he said, “but I hope we’ll be able to grow and become a bit more successful.

“You can’t move for cafes in Romford but we’re trying to be a bit different.”


Latest Romford News Stories

11 minutes ago
Lydia Lucy performing at Havering College

A former X Factor contestant and finalist of The Voice returned to her old college to this week to put on a show for its students.

54 minutes ago
Ambulance. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

A 10-year-old boy has been hit by a car on his way to a holiday activity camp this morning.

Hayley Collins was refused a drink in the pub as the staff thought she was drunk

A leading brain injury charity said it is “extremely disappointed” at a pub chain after staff refused to serve a disabled woman whose condition was mistaken for drunkenness.

The Somerset House Christmas Ice Rink, at London's Somerset House Credit: PA Images

An ice rink will be set-up in the market place over the Christmas period but it will be closed on bank holidays.

Andy Butler with a copy of his wife's interim certificate with the wrong date of death recorded.

A widower is hoping to gain closure over his wife’s death after an investigation was launched into the conduct of a former coroner for the borough.

Georgie, now 16, Leila, now 10, and their mother Nancy Shelley

Grieving orphans were traumatised after their belongings were put out on the street by their landlady less than 10 days after their mother died.

Yesterday, 17:41
Children planted trees in the new raised beds for the opening of the Tired Tree

A new nursery opened this week offering the community a place to learn and play after finishing the first phase of renovation works.

Yesterday, 16:16
Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas who started the petition. Picture: Kika Mitchell Photography.

A campaign to remove the “derogatory and stereotypical” ‘Essex Girl’ definition from the dictionary has gained huge momentum after thousands signed up to a petition.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now