A new bakery by one of the founders and the head chef of Soho-born coffee and sandwich shop Fernandez & Wells. Dee Rettali and Jorge Fernandez will open Fortitude Bakehouse close to Russell Square station in Bloomsbury on Thursday 1 March, it has been announced today.
The owners say the new bakery will specialise in sweet and savoury “slow ferment craft baking.” The announcement adds that it will be the first bakery in London to “offer a range of sourdough cakes alongside gluten free and vegan bakes.”
Fernandez was not just an important player in the early days of the new wave coffee boom, but in his signature utilitarian interior style, which became the template for cafes and small restaurants across London. Before opening the first two Fernandez & Wells sites (on Lexington Street and Beak Street in Soho in 2007), he managed The Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough for six years (where he met then BBC World Service journalist, Rick Wells.) The original coffee shop, on Beak Street, closed last year after what was understood to be a disagreeable 10-year rent review. Fernandez also left the company in 2017.
Baker and cook Rettali has been at the forefront of the organic food movement, founding Patisserie Organic in 1998. In 2010, she began supplying cakes to Fernandez & Wells, before joining the company first as head chef and subsequently operations manager. The duo say they share a belief “in the preservation of traditional crafts and time honoured baking methods.”
The daily offering will include — 8am — 4pm, Monday to Saturday:
- Takeaway breakfast and lunch
- Coffee from Staffordshire-based roastery, Hasbean and teas from Postcard Teas
- Fermented barabrith (fruitcake) with honey and black tea
- Lemon, yoghurt, poppy seed sourdough
- Squash, cardamom, pumpkin seed, chia cake
- Buckwheat, vanilla cream sable biscuit
- Lemon, rosewater, pistachio buns
- Apple and thyme crumbles with chestnut flour
As well as managing the bakery day-to-day, Rettali will hold regular classes and workshops on sourdough baking, slow fermenting and working with alternatives to wheat flour, such as millet, chestnut and almond flours.
Fortitude Bakehouse will primarily open for takeaway, but will also feature a small counter for those who want to eat in. It will also have a range of cakes and breads available for wholesale.