Juliet Shield

Restaurant Consultant

Beauty in the Making

This subject is a bit off piste for this blog, but there is a connection as I will explain later. Yesterday, I was searching for Ben Townsend to take a picture of him for a piece on the Espresso Room in Bloomsbury (coming next). I found him in the basement of Victoria House the running a pop up cafe for an exhibition put on by GF Smith, an independent British company which produces paper.

I have a confession to make: a complete weakness for staionery of any kind. i find it really hard to enter a Paperchase or even a Rymans without coming out loaded up with bagfuls of stuff. But this paper opens up a whole new world. There are three reasons for going to this exhibition: the opportunity of seeing the basement in this iconic building, to able to drink the best coffee in London, and to see a product from a century old British company which has supported creativity worldwide steadfastly through fat and lean years. They are a great bunch, all enthusiasts, right down to the band of aproned women who carefully fold the paper into beautiful envelopes with just the right amount of stickiness.

There is a fascinating room smelling of spruce showing the process of paper making from 15 year old trees only about 1.5 metres high, to the wood chips, to the dyes, all set against vibrant colours of paper. All the processes used are as environmentally friendly as possible with the pulp sourced from well managed forests. Some of the machinery used has been in operation for decades, being completely fit for purpose. GF Smith’s Colorplan range, launched in 1972, has now become the cornerstone of their business. The combination of colours displayed were completely stunning and got me inspired with ideas for redecorating my flat. You can see them all on the simple, well designed website.

Apart from collaborating with the Espresso Room, they also worked with Bompass & Parr, London’s event people without equal. Which meant that you got tokens on entry in exchange for goodie bags on exit. And what goodie bags.

So what was the catering connection then? They supply Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants with paper for his menus.

For entry register your interest at:
Or visit the Espresso Room on Gt Ormond St to pick up an invitation.

Exhibition runs till 27 April at
Victoria House Basement
Unit 6, 37-63 Southampton Row
Opening times: 10.30am – 7.30pm