Nice Croissant – billed as Wanstead’s longest running cafe at 25 years – has changed hands and is to undergo a refurbishment. Kerrie Dainty, above, who has owned the high street cafe for the past 15 years has sold the business to pastry chef Fabien Ecuvillon. The pair have been talking about the potential deal for the past three years but it became a done deal on Thursday, marked by a surprise party of regular customers.
One development which will be widely welcomed among Wanstead foodies is that Fabien is to install a bread oven and is to start baking his own artisanal loaves.
Kerrie said: “I feel very much part of the community and the furniture. I am very much at home here at Nice Croissant and in the Wanstead area. Leaving makes me very sad; it has felt like the sitcom ‘Cheers’, everyone knows everyone, and we all greet each other by name. But I am also optimistic for the future. I have very much enjoyed running my own business and watching the area change. Nice Croissant is one of the founding businesses in Wanstead. It was the first cafe to have outside seating, which we instigated in 1990. It was a rare sight in those days. Ahead of the times: we are now one of many.
“I very much enjoyed the French Market that came to town about 10 years ago. I helped organise it and it coincided with the European Car Free Day, which meant the High Street was completely closed off to traffic. It was a huge success, 6000 people turned up for this event. Over the years this has evolved into the Wanstead Festival. I love having the photographs on the walls of the cafe: they are of friends and colleagues past and present, taken at Christmas time. I particularly love it when those in the photos come back years later with their children. My long term customers have brought their children in over the years and watching these children blossom into young adults and then come and work here makes the place feel more and more like working within one big family.
She said she was optimistic about the cafe’s future: “I think it will be really positive. Fabien is a well experienced Pastry Chef with youth on his side and great enthusiasm for having his own business. We have known each other as friends and as work colleagues for five years now and I am so pleased to have him take up the challenge. Naturally, these are difficult times, but his energy, expertise and skill will take him forward.
Fabien, who lives in Stratford, says he loves the area – particularly Epping Forest – and is looking forward to becoming part of the Wanstead community. “My team and I can’t wait to introduce everyone to some new ideas and dishes. Baking is my passion, I’ve trained and baked in many different places over the years and I’m thrilled to finally have my own cafe. I have so many ideaeas and things I’d like to try, but it will take time. I especially enjoy English pastries and puddings. so you can look forward to some traditional English food.”