Squirrel – a fun, vibrant casual dining concept – has opened its first store in South Kensington.
The new hangout is a joint venture, founded by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling of Inception Group (known for their creative and innovative ventures such as Bunga Bunga and Mr Foggs) and their wives, marketeer Anneke Gilkes and nutritional therapist, Zoe Stirling.
”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!” says co-founder, Charlie Gilkes. “We feel there is a gaping hole in the market for somewhere accessible and fun that also doesn’t substitute health for good taste.”
Squirrel aims to differ from existing ‘health food’ venues through its universal appeal. Each dish on the menu is freshly prepared to order and therefore any ingredients can be substituted to cater to all tastes and dietary requirements.
The food offering features four bespoke house salads, four hot and hearty grain bowls, two seasonal options that are nutritionally balanced and contains a number of foraged ingredients, alongside wholesome soups and stews which will change weekly.
All food served is 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.
Co-founder and nutritional therapist Zoe Stirling comments: “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.”
Championing both seasonality and sustainability, Squirrel works closely with suppliers that are equally as passionate about sourcing seasonal, high quality produce that tastes delicious and comes directly from small farms, giving their customers complete transparency as to how and where their food is produced.
Squirrel is also committed to using ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables that don’t otherwise make it onto the supermarket shelf as much as possible to reduce wastage in the food supply process. In this vein they also use recyclable and fully compostable packaging where viable.
The instore experience fully reflects the personality of the brand: the interiors are vibrant and playful in design with a tree-lined walkway and service counter carved from a twenty-one foot long, fallen oak tree.
Lights are housed in hanging acorns and guests can dine in a timber clad tree-house, made from as much reclaimed wood as possible, and be seated at large picnic style tables.