Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, founders of the London-based restaurant, bar and nightclub operator, the Inception Group, are teaming up with their wives - marketeer Anneke Gilkes and nutritional therapist, Zoe Stirling – to launch Squirrel, a new all day fast casual concept.
The team behind the new venture, which is set to open its first site next month in Harrington Road, South Kensington, said Squirrel was set to “disrupt the existing ‘grab and go’ market frequently associated with lack-lustre packaged salads and sandwiches”. It is thought that £500k is being invested into the new venture, with more planned over the next few years.
Charlie Gilkes said: “Especially since turning thirty, both Duncan and I have wanted to eat more healthily but have found most ’health concepts’ rather intimidating and a bit like visiting the doctors! We feel there is a gaping hole in the market for somewhere accessible and fun that also doesn’t substitute health for good taste.”
Zoe Stirling said: “For a long time I have wanted somewhere I can recommend to my clients where I know they will always be able to eat healthily, and also not be constrained by pre-prepared meals. My ambition was to create somewhere where I could be completely confident that each ingredient was full of nutritional benefit.”
The company said that Squirrel would differ from existing ‘health food’ venues through its “universal appeal and crucially because it feels as easily accessible to men as it does women”.
It said: “Every dish on the menu will be freshly prepared to order and therefore any ingredients can be substituted to cater to all tastes and dietary requirements. For those feeling particularly inspired, there will even be the option to create their own unique culinary masterpiece, choosing from all the fresh ingredients on display.
“Furthermore, all Squirrel’s staff will be trained in basic nutrition advising customers on which food or drink should be consumed to support their goals, for example, increased energy levels or recovery after a gym session.”
The food offering will feature four bespoke house salads, three hot and hearty grain bowls, two seasonal options that will be nutritionally balanced and contain a number of foraged ingredients, alongside wholesome soups and stews which will change weekly.
All food served will be available to eat-in, or takeaway in bespoke acorn vessels. Guests that eat-in will sit inside a tree-house overlooking the treetops whilst listening to an upbeat soundtrack.
Having derived much inspiration from across the pond, Squirrel will also embrace the best US well-being trends, and offer products such as tumeric lattes and reishi hot chocolate.
Breakfasts will be available for £5 and under, while customers will be able to have lunch or dinner for £10.