‘Likkle Sugarcane’ brings Caribbean food to Clapham
A pandemic, Brexit and a harsh winter are not the ideal conditions for opening a new business – but a daring restaurateur from Wandsworth is taking his chances.
Chef Tee, 26, will be serving a second helping of sunshine at his latest Caribbean restaurant on Lavender Hill.
The Wandsworth Times spoke for the last time to the aspiring business owner in September 2020 when he opened his first restaurant, Sugarcane, on Wandsworth Road.
Dedicated to hiring care leavers and with an environmental ethic to boot, the family-style restaurant quickly became a community favorite.
Now Chef Tee is back with another restaurant to his name – a takeout outlet specializing in vegan cuisine.
‘Likkle Sugarcane’ is expected to open in mid-March, but plans have been in the works for a long time.
âEver since I was in college and dreamed of having a restaurant, my vision was to have one on this road,â said Chef Tee.
âWhen it went on sale it was broken and broken, and nobody wanted it. But the pandemic grants gave me a chance to invest.
âSugarcane has always been meant to be a trademark of Wandsworth – the best Caribbean food in SW11 – not in Brixton or Camberwell or across the river.
âRight now I’m trying to create a brand. I have to take the opportunity, âsaid the 26-year-old.
Chef Tee hopes to retain the relaxed charm of his original restaurant, but with a new direction.
Specializing in traditional Caribbean cuisine with a vegetal touch, he believes he has exploited a niche.
âEveryone is going vegan right now; it’s so popular.
âSo I developed my own recipes for jerk jackfruit, jerk pumpkin and salted fish with banana blossom and akÃ©. There are also curries, cocktails and cakes.
Already, Sugarcane is attracting customers from far beyond Wandsworth – from East London and Essex, who come for the history as well as the food.
And after winning a government seed grant, Sugarcane is distributing even more food for the soul.
The grant allows up to 15 employees to work in the restaurant, aged 16 to 24 and benefiting from universal credit.
For many, this will be their first job, providing work experience, a good referral and education at South Thames College.
Chef Tee looks forward to better times when the restrictions are relaxed, and everyone’s hard work will begin to pay off.
âI opened the restaurant because I wanted people to be happy, not because I was chasing money.
“I look forward to summer, when people can sit outside the restaurant and enjoy cocktails together in the sun.”
Sugarcane can be found at 517 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 4PA and is available on Deliveroo or Uber Eats take out.
Likkle Sugarcane is at 50 Lavender Hill, SW11 5RH, opening to be determined.
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