Jolene in London: 7 Simple, Budget Ideas to Steal from the Year’s Most Rustic Bakery

The oldest surviving terraced houses in England were built in 1658, and they stand at 52-55 Newington Green, in a neighborhood that borders Hackney and Islington. Across the historic green, at number 22, is Jolene, a bakery, restaurant, and wine bar opened in September by David Gingell and Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim—the pair behind two of north London’s favorite neighborhood restaurants, Primeur and Westerns Laundry.

Both of the previous sites are in unexpected locations: Primeur is in a converted 1920s car garage on a smart residential street, whilst Westerns Laundry occupies a former wholesale laundry business. Despite the historic surrounding, the founders of Jolene have taken on something less architecturally interesting: the bakery is on the ground floor of an unremarkable, three-story block of flats, with retail space on the ground floor. “This is a fairly ugly building,” admits Jeremie. “Of course it helps to have a building that has a dramatic look from the outside, but I think we’d already done that twice. For me it was a challenge to see whether having an ugly outside could actually enhance the inside.”

Jolene in London 7 Simple Budget Ideas to Steal from the Years Most Rustic Bakery portrait 7_17
Above: David Gingell (left) oversees the menu, Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim is responsible for the interiors.

When we met, Jolene had just been awarded “Design of the Year” by Eater London. “What’s interesting, is that the other contenders spent a huge amount of money on their design,” explains Jeremie. “For us, only a third of our budget is spent on design. We want people to remember us for the food we cook—the rest is really secondary.” The duo have teamed up with farmer Andy Cato (formerly of Groove Armada), who supplies the bakery with sustainably-farmed grains from Gascony. These are milled on site each day and turned into the breads and French bakes that fill the counter. “Of course I think then you need to put money in the details,” continues Jeremie. “I think that’s what makes a big difference, but the details don’t necessarily have to be expensive.”

Here are eight design ideas to take away, all on a budget.

Photography courtesy of Jolene.

1. Under-promise, over-deliver.

Jolene in London 7 Simple Budget Ideas to Steal from the Years Most Rustic Bakery portrait 7_25
Above: The exterior of Jolene doesn’t have the architectural drama of previous sites.