Denim ‘n’ Dine – a unique collaboration in Walthamstow

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An extraordinary thing is happening in Walthamstow.

Firstly, there is Blackhorse Lane Atelier. It’s a factory that makes and sells jeans that are designed to last a lifetime. The factory operates a sustainable, ethical business model – the workers are also shareholders. They also grow their own Japanese indigo, used to dye the denim. 

It is possibly the first factory in London in over 50 years to make premium jeans, and it is almost certainly the only factory in London that serves food prepared by a Michelin-trained chef. 

Denim 'n' Dine
Denim ‘n’ Dine

When the factory employees clock off at 6pm, the workbenches are tucked away, although the yarns and the sewing machines remain. Bespoke tables are unfolded, which were made specially for purpose by Palmer/Wilson; a Blackhorse Lane furniture-making duo. A few adjustments to the lighting, and the factory is transformed from a busy workspace into a cosy pop-up restaurant, Denim ‘n’ Dine.

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Chef Pedro Passinhas is at the helm. I find him laboriously shelling tiny, bright green peas by the hundreds in preparation for the evening’s six-course menu. Restaurant-goers pay a fixed price of £50 to experience the food, a price that is kept low by reducing the amount of waiting staff. The chefs bring the food to the table to explain how it is prepared, which cuts out the middleman.

Pedro Passinhas
Pedro Passinhas

Pedro explains: “We stripped everything down, so the emphasis is really on good food and good conversation. It’s a chance for people to come and socialise. The food really helps to start the conversation because it’s so unique. And it automatically brings out questions and gets people involved.”

Pedro Passinhas dessert dish
Pedro Passinhas dessert dish

Pedro is in favour of using locally sourced ingredients where possible. His Portuguese background has influenced his healthy approach to food, so meat is used sparingly and many of the dishes prepared at Denim ‘n’ Dine are pescetarian or vegetarian.

“We started exploring what’s around here, and there’s a lot of things happening,” he says.

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“From the honey to vodkas to the coffees, to foraging, we are starting to incorporate a lot of local ingredients to our menus.

“The idea was always to have a complex, high-level quality of food but not in the traditional restaurant that is associated with that kind of food.”

Pedro Passinhas oyster
Pedro Passinhas oyster

Pedro trained at Le Corden Bleu and went on to chef in some of the UK’s top restaurants – Le Gavroche, the Fat Duck, The Square and Galvin at Windows. And because of this background, Pedro has retained the same suppliers as these restaurants. It’s unlikely that the suppliers would have catered to such a small establishment otherwise.

Pedro Passinhas vegetarian dish
Pedro Passinhas vegetarian dish

In the near future, Denim ‘n’ Dine will offer cooking masterclasses using fresh vegetables grown in an allotment in Higham Hill.

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“The idea is to collaborate with Waltham Forest council and provide workshops for young people, so they can learn how to cook simple things grown from fresh ingredients.

Hello, World!

“We’re not from Walthamstow, but we’re finding out that the community is really diverse, with lots of interests. So there’s a lot going on.”

Pre-booking at Denim ‘n’ Dine is essential to reduce waste. Guests can currently bring their own alcohol at no extra charge. 

Denim ‘n’ Dine

Blackhorse Lane Atelier

114 Blackhorse Lane

London E17 6AA

For bookings, go to https://pedropassinhas.com/dining-events-london/

Denim 'n' Dine menu
Denim ‘n’ Dine menu

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