Meet the owners of local café Bel & Nev
Recently we caught up with Bel and Nev Dartora, the couple behind the eponymous Kensal Rise café.
To me, when I think of Bel & Nev, it conjures up images of ‘Cheers’, the American TV sitcom. A place where regulars share their experiences and lives with each other. While eating and drinking or working, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. And although it is unlikely they do know everybody’s name, all are treated in the same warm friendly way; the place feels right at the heart of our community.
They have a select menu, and it ticks all the boxes, with yummy all day breakfasts and lunches, cakes, plus delicious coffees. My favourite is the coconut porridge with banana, honey, cinnamon, berries or the smashed avocado on toast with homemade chilli jam. My youngest devours their banana bread.
So, let’s get down to it and meet the Nev of Bel & Nev.
How did you meet?
We met training at Le Cordon Bleu school in London.
What is the history behind Bel & Nev Café and what made you want to open up shop here in Kensal Rise?
After having our first child we thought it would be better if we open our own business because I was working long hours at restaurants. Bella’s mum found the place for sale on the internet and when we came to visit we thought it was perfect. To be honest we didn’t know much about the area at the time. It was a lucky surprise.
Is there anything about Bel & Nev that you are especially proud of?
I think we’re proud of Bel & Nev as a place where everyone is welcome, and the food and the music are good. Locals like to come here to meet up. It’s a friendly and buzzy place to be.
If you were a customer in your café, what would you order from the menu?
Jalapeño cornbread special or any brioches buns followed by toasted banana bread.
How have the customers’ tastes changed over the years?
I don’t know exactly how but our menu has changed very little since we opened 9 years ago, because it’s what we like to have for breakfast or lunch.
Describe your venue in 3 words.
Local, friendly, community.
What are some memorable moments you had when running the café?
We’ve thrown a few parties in the past at the café and once we had a pop-up dinner which was really good.
Where do you source your ingredients from and how often do you change your menu?
For sausage and bacon, we get from our local butcher in Willesden O’farrels. Great people and great produce. For veg, we order from a local guy that delivers every day. Bread and pastries from The Bread Factory.
What advice would you give to someone who is dreaming of opening their own small business?
It’s hard work but it’s worth being your own boss
How do you unwind?
Spending time with family and friends
What do you love about the area?
Kensal Rise feels like a small village full of great local shops and great people.
Address : 15 Station Terrace, London, NW10 5RX
Tel : 020 3720 8825