Following a long stint in Australia, Dublin man Ken Flood returned to these shores to set up home and build a new business centred around specialty coffee and flavoursome, homemade pies and sausage rolls with wife Katie in Stoneybatter. We talked to Ken about the evolution of Love Supreme, the mouthwatering flavours they use and the unique charm of doing business in Stoneybatter.
Ken, tell us a little about your career to date and what prompted you to start Love Supreme.
Well, myself and my wife Katie have always been in the hospitality industry in one way or another, working in bars and restaurants and in various areas within promotion and in management. We had a cocktail bar/night-club in Sydney in Australia for seven years before arriving home to Dublin, which was a bit wild. We felt that we were getting a bit long in the tooth for the crazy late nights, fun as they were, and thought that a day job would be a nice change. We’ve always had a big interest in coffee and this brought us to opening a cafe. Then an opportunity arose for us to go and do our own thing so we kind of leaped upon it really.
How did you decide on the name – are you a jazz fan by any chance?
Yep, a Coltrane fan for sure! But we genuinely have a huge love for what we do everyday in here and it’s a great buzz sharing that with people. We wanted the brand to be a flexible one that we could take in any number of directions to keep ourselves entertained. So far it includes Love Supreme Coffee which is roasted for us by Ferg Brown of Roasted Brown Coffee, and some bakery products that are baked each morning in our little bakery in the back of the shop including a collection of seven Love Supreme Sausage Rolls, four Love Supreme Pies and a load of Love Supreme cakes and treats.
Sausage rolls and pies sound very ‘old-school’, what makes the ones you’re doing different?
In Australia pies and sausage rolls work really well, so we thought we’d give it a go here. They’re all home-made on-site and we go to great lengths to make them really interesting and to source our meat from happy animals. Katie is the master chef and we cater for both vegetarians and meat-eaters. We do a beef, bacon and porter pie made with great quality beef from Kildare and a pie made with Blackstairs Mountain lamb, wine and mace which is then braised for seven or eight hours. We also have a four cheese pie with plum and apple chutney on at the moment and there’s plenty of choice in our sausage rolls too. We have one with lamb, cranberry, lemon and sriracha which is a kind of a Malaysian chilli sauce, as well as a more Irish-sounding one, made with pork, cabbage, honey and a little bit of mustard. Our vegetarian versions include one made with spiced bean, coconut and chilli and another with spinach, ricotta, pomegranate molasses and walnuts. The pork with cabbage, honey and mustard is definitely the biggest seller, but we get through a huge amount of the vegetarian ones too. I think people are delighted to see food that they can enjoy in the shape of something they couldn’t previously.
What have been the main challenges and successes for Love Supreme? How easy did you find it to get the business off the ground?
We’ve been open for a year and a half now and while it’s been tough, it’s also been a lot of fun. We’ve met so many great people – one of the best parts of running a café – and learnt a hell of a lot. We wanted to remain very quality-focused and brand orientated throughout and this presented difficulties at times. “€2.90 for a latte? Ye should be wearing a balaclava to work!” or “Sausage rolls and pies? Do you not do sandwiches?” Sticking with it has given us a great regular crowd though, thankfully, and things are going well. From day one people were interested and keen, so we’re fairly busy during the week and massively so on the weekend. We seem to have a bit of a destination type vibe, with people driving to us on the weekend that either used to live around or they’ve read about us, which is great.
You must have enjoyed the shout-out to Love Supreme recently when local resident Rob Doyle cited it as ‘the go-to place for Stoneybatter’s nouveau coffee aristocracy’ in the Guardian?
Ha! Yes, that was very flattering, and a great article – fair play to him. I feel it might be a little early to be positioning Stoneybatter alongside Williamsburg and some of the places mentioned in the article, but for whatever reason it certainly seems to be moving in that direction. Bottom line, it’s a great place to live with a lovely mix of people, a massive park to walk my dogs and it’s only a stroll to the centre of town.
What else do you have planned for the rest of the year?
First thing in the pipeline is to move towards wholesaling our beloved sausage rolls, pies and cakes to some phenomenal and amazing cafés around town. We’ve had a good few enquiries about this which is exciting, so watch this space! Secondly we’re looking at opening another shop at some point. Lastly we want to get much more involved in the sourcing and the roasting of our coffee this year. We’re planning to learn as much as we possibly can with a view to wholesaling that at some point too.
Words: Martina Murray
Images: Love Supreme