Coffee shop and patisserie Fork & Flavour opened on Seller street, next to the canal in December 2021. After a promising first few months business has suffered recently due to the sewer repair work which has closed down the canal path and limited footfall. Owner Chris Moran spoke to us about what’s on the menu and the challenges posed to his new business.
“We started this as a random venture. ” says Chris. “My father in law decided to do something with his retirement money! We looked around Chester and this place popped up. ” Chris took on the lease from the previous occupant, coffee shop Blue Bear, with the venue previously being another cafe, Coffee Tots. “The day we signed the lease my wife had a baby” , this led to Chris’ father in law taking charge of the renovation. The small close knit team at Fork & Flavour have known each other or worked together for many years. Chris has been a chef for 15 years all across the UK. He started off working in a Michelin starred restaurant and then did agency work all across the country, followed by work at The Hornsmill and Peckforton Castle. Chris aims to bring his varied experience and influences to the menu of brunch items and lighter meals.
“The best thing we’ve got in there is probably the eggs benedict, everyone raves about it, especially the hollandaise sauce. We use a Bain Marie for the sauce, and then aerate it to give it a light fluffy texture. We didn’t want to do breakfast at the start but they were very popular. Its standard but its different from everywhere else. The beans I’ve taken from Bulgaria, I used to go skiing there a lot and that was one of my favourite things, so I’ve copied it but done my own take on it. We make the rosti- usually you get a hash brown but this is a bit different. ”
“Whether you use it or not; the avocado on toast is completely different to what you’d get in Chester at the moment. We make a pesto with the avocado. So loads of parmesan, pistachios, rocket and basil. And few secret ingredients. Jazz it up good and proper with mangos, heirloom tomatoes, sorrel, and pistachios. There’s actually some flavour in it instead of the boring smashed avocado with dried chilli flakes all over it like usual!
With so many cafe options in the city , Chris says another thing that stands out is the cake mini deal. “We do, any hot drink and a mini cake for an extra pound, or a hot drink and a big sweet or cake for £6.50 That seems to have gone down really well. At the the moment we are making 50/50 of what we sell. Some if we get from Galloway patisserie in Great Barrow. The breads and pastries are from Niche Patisserie in Oswestry . “We also make our own brown sugar marshmallows for the hot chocolates which are pretty popular. the milkshakes are pretty damn impressive as well, if I don’t say so myself. We make all the toppings and fillings ourselves. Same with the ice cream sundae.”
A collapsed Victorian sewer pipe has led to the closure of the canal path with Welsh Water commenting that “the repair work is very challenging due to the location of both of the collapses under the bridge, restricting access to the collapse.” (https://corporate.dwrcymru.com/en/community/investment-projects/chester-canal-side)
“Business was going well until the closure which began at Easter. On average we were doing £3-400 a day and £800 at the weekends, but its gone right back down to where we started. ” Chris admits , “Its essential work that needs doing but its taken away massive footfall, yes there is a diversion but it’s people rushing to work rather than cyclists or dog walkers, its nowhere near the same as it was. Its going to be like this until September, possibly October. We get updates from the site manager and a business correspondent. They are quite open about how things are going and offering support. They’ve put some banners on the railings for us. We have contacted the council and Welsh water, from what we’ve seen Welsh Water are good at dealing with people and they are doing the best they can for us. ”
Fork and Flavour are open 8.30 til 5 Monday to Friday 9-5 Sat and 10-4 Sunday