We interviewed Andy Phelps, our Group Operations Director for The Engine Rooms Restaurant & us here at Bottles 'N' Jars + father of 2.
With half term beginning we thought it would be a good time to catch up with our new Operations Director, and father of 2 boys aged 4 and 7, Andy to get his perspective on the perfect day of family eating and drinking.
How does your day start?
With a much-needed coffee obviously. During the week I have mostly Notes Nespresso compatible capsules as time can be short with the school run and getting ourselves ready for work. At the weekends and during holidays, especially on a Sunday I love taking more time, grinding the beans myself (the shop has a great seasonally changing) using my hand grinder and making a pour over ‘V60’ coffee. There’s something very enjoyable and therapeutic about making coffee in this way.
To get the children ready for the day it has to be peanut butter on toast or a bagel with some fresh fruit. My youngest, Jude, will only eat smooth while Raff has what he calls ‘peanut butter road’ – crunchy on first and then smooth on top as if laying a new road surface.
What’s after breakfast and how do you keep them occupied?
It’s always great to do an activity and something practical we can do together. Baking is something we all enjoy, especially the end result! Cookies or cupcakes are perfect as the boys don’t require much help and really feel they’ve made them solo. They make a great afternoon treat once baked and decorated.
Lunchtime, how do you play this one?
Pasta is always a big favourite in our house. They especially like discovering a new shape. At the moment were loving Sidings Bakery regeneratively farmed wholemeal pasta. At lunch I find it’s best to keep things simple and tasty so the Genovese pesto is perfect, we just add some peas and finish with Parmesan.
It’s nice to sit down as a family and eat together. My wife and I would pair our pasta with a bottle of Kombucha, great for digestion and it’s sparkling so feels like you’re having a proper drink without the potential afternoon energy drop that can follow wine. The boys are big fans of Townsend Farm Apple Juice.
Depending on the weather we’ll head out for a walk with our dog Bo stopping for an afternoon coffee and some hot chocolate for the boys.
How do you celebrate the end of the day?
While the children are eating their dinner it’s time for Aperitivo hour. I think the Perelló olives are fantastic, they remind us of long lazy lunches in the Balearics and along with some almonds they make the perfect early evening snack. During the week I tend to stick to Lucky Saint Lager or another low & no drink.
After a full-on day and with the children tucked up in bed, we need a totally effortless and highly comforting dinner. Preferably something that can be put in the oven while we do bath time and stories. The duck cassoulet is perfect for this, easy to heat up and serve simply with some crusty bread. Even after over 25 years in the hospitality industry there is still so many new things to try and I love nothing more than opening a new wine and having the team at Bottles ‘n’ Jars to make recommendations, has been a great benefit and opportunity to keep exploring and learning.
*With this dish we recommend the Syrah 2020 from Christophe Muret in the Languedoc 2020 to complement the duck cassoulet and add a touch of warming spice and plenty of juicy, tart fruit.
In addition to all these delicious & fun ideas we’d love to see you down at the shop in East Finchley this Half Term. We’ve got heated outdoor seating, cosy indoor seating and our popular Tony’s Hot Chocolate. The Engine Rooms restaurant have curated a delicious kids menu and also have some fun activities during the week.