Pies and Principles: Fairly Square (London) & Conservatory Tea Rooms (Newport)

Our choice of cafes and restaurants that put morals on the menu. This month we check out London’s first fair trade bar and tea rooms in Newport, South Wales that are training people with learning disabilities

Fairly Square
51 Red Lion Street, Holborn, London

On a warm summer’s day in July, I sipped a citrusy, potent, Twisted Caipirinha, while Latino music filled London’s first ever fair trade bar.

Set up in February by Onome Okotie, the modest-sized hang-out has a number of ethical slants, including the fact that the vast majority of food and drink – from rum to rice – is certified Fairtrade and organic; glasses and furniture are supplied by homelessness charity Emmaus; the floor is sourced from Islington council’s old Green Living Centre and gas and electricity are supplied by Ecotricity.

There’s a large selection of wine, a handful of beers, lager, cider and spirits, as well as softs like elderflower cordial. There’s a starburst of cocktails available and Onome puts her own stamp on things. The Hot, Hot Mocha, for example, has a shot of fair trade rum.

Popular options on the coffee shop-style menu include West African spicy tomato and rice jollof (veggie or meat), while off-beat options such as courgette cake or mango and lime gluten-free brownies are available with a fair trade cuppa.

The business is a social enterprise, so all profits are reinvested to further its ethical aims.

Open 10.30am til late Mon-Fri, 11am on Sat. Closed Sundays.
Tel: 020 7430 9276

Conservatory Tea Rooms
Belle Vue Park, Newport, South Wales
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At the top of Gwent’s Belle Vue Park sits a social enterprise cafe overlooking a patchwork of blooming trees and shrubbery. On a scorching summer’s day, the space was tranquil as we sat on the pavilion terrace outside the cafe for sandwiches.

Run by Newport council, the venue is a catering training project for people with learning disabilities. It’s open to the public for basic lunches and also caters for local parties and meetings.

It’s a slight shame that the food and drink is nothing to shout about (although we didn’t try the cake), and little has been done to make the inside of the tearooms particularly inviting. But the main reasons to go are to support a worthwhile project and enjoy the beautiful views.

There are a number of rare trees in the park – in early spring the Himalayan Magnolias produce huge goblet-shaped pink flowers and in May, the branches of the Judas Trees can be seen covered with rose-lilac flowers.

Open 10am-4pm Mon-Sun.
Tel: 01633 656 656 (Newport Council)