Upon visiting a selection of Hull’s local independent cafe’s which serve home made soup, we also asked them a few questions about their lovely businesses, how they ended up running their own cafe’s, and what kind of produce they tend to opt for in their menus.
Marla’s Sandwich Shop
Q: What inspired you to open your own café?
A: A love of food, a love of cooking, and a chance to do something we could get creative with. There was a gap in the market too; a few different things came together to make it the right thing to do. We always knew we wanted to do something food related, there’s a lot of different elements here even down to the building. It seemed like a good first food joint to open where we can make simple food and make it well.
Q: I know you change your menus around about every six weeks, but have you got a particularly favourite dish that you like to cook?
A: Our halloumi sandwich always stays on the menu, along with bacon and egg. Anything with halloumi in always tends to sell really well. Generally, we’ll keep the same menu item on but it changes in flavour, like at the minute we have a pork belly on the menu that we’re going to take off and bring in a more Japanese-inspired pork belly. We keep a similar amount of vegan, veggie, and meat options and just play around with them a little bit.
Q: So, would you say it’s the halloumi-based items that are the most popular, or is there something else you have that people may come back for?
A: Everyone kind of has their own thing that they like. Last Christmas we did a beef brisket with mulled wine slaw and that flew out all the time, but that’s also because of the time of year it was. Halloumi sandwiches seem to be popular all year round – it’s not a messy sandwich to eat, and it’s tasty.
Q: You said you use Trinity Market for your fruit and vegetables; do you get your meat, fish, and eggs from there too?
A: We get our meat from TL Norman’s on Princes Avenue. We don’t use fish in any of our sandwiches at the moment, but that could change. It just complicates things. Everything we get is local, our eggs are from a friend whose ex boyfriends parents have a farm, so there’s always eggs flying around and they’re free range.
Q: You also mentioned before how you’ve only been open a year, but do you tend to stick to using seasonal menu items throughout the year?
A: Yes, just because it’s fresh and it’s a good guideline to what we cook as well; if you watch what’s in season and you cook around that, then it keeps you changing everything on a regular basis.
Q: Do you think you have an interest in sustainability?
A: Yes, definitely. It’s a mad subject I suppose.
Q: Yes, I like your glass jars.
A: You try and do your little bit but it’s like a drop in the ocean really, so you have to hope that bigger companies start taking that seriously. Individuals can do their bit, but it can just feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.
Q: I also like the fact you said earlier that any spare vegetables you have you just add to your soups.
A: Yes definitely. We also make stock out of our chicken bones; other veggies that aren’t good for soup can be made into stock. Things like that are important.
Q: Do you find that food waste is a problem here or do things tend to get used up anyway?
A: I think we are happy with the amount of waste we have – there isn’t that much. Sometimes we also take any spare food home to eat ourselves if there are left overs, but we make to order anyway. We also don’t buy in massive bulk so we rarely have leftovers. Some people may leave little bits on their plate but they might not have big appetites – they are quite big sandwiches.
John: Were you already in Hull or did you move here for this?
A: No, Sarah is from Hull.
Visit Marla’s at 17 Paragon Arcade, Hull HU1 3PQ.