In heart of Hull’s Fruit Market a £16m digital and creating industries’ quarter is being developed and businesses here are flourishing. Right in the centre of this activity is a unique, bistro-style café; Nibble.
The cafe opened in January 2016 and provides an intimate setting with an interior style that is funky and industrial. The atmosphere at Nibble is relaxed and friendly; it boasts a simple interior with wooden tables, blackboard menus hung over the open plan kitchen area which is bustling with healthy, fresh food.
Owner Anna Lamb employs 10 people, owns corporate catering company Crate & Pallet and the Wilmington Café on Hull’s Foster Street – a working man’s café serving homemade hearty food in a converted old railway ticket office with a cosy log burner. The success of these two businesses, within a short space of 3 years, enabled Anna to be more adventurous and personally invest £40,000 into Nibble.
Anna’s background is in the leisure and marketing industry. Originally from Wrexham, North Wales, Anna was working as a site trouble shooter for Inventive Leisure, opening Revolution Bars across the North. In 2008 she made the decision to relocate to Hull to manage the Revolution Bar after falling in love with a City that she described as “so friendly, on the up with lots happening”.
Subsequently, Anna promoted tourism for the area as a Sales Manager for VHEY (Visit Hull and East Yorkshire) and then became an Account Manager at Fred, a local creative marketing agency based in the heart of Hull’s Marina. It was during this role that she was the account manager for Wykeland, the area’s leading property development company, responsible for the commercial development of the Fruit Market area, including the £14m @TheDock site where Nibble has now opened. Owner, Anna Lamb said; “I went through a rigorous tender process to win the contract from Wykeland but I was so determined, I’ve been excited about Wykeland’s development plans for the Fruit Market for the last few years, even when I opened up the Wilmington Café I always had this in the back of my mind. I’ve always wanted to have my own business and in my mid-20’s I had loads of ideas but with the added confidence from running a professional catering company and experience of opening and operating the Wilmington café, I took a leap of faith that has paid off.”
Projects, such as opening a café, usually take a lot of planning but not for Anna – she had just a couple of months between building starting at Nibble in November to the opening of the café in January. It’s clear when meeting Anna that she’s extremely driven – the energy, passion, tenacity and organisation oozes from her as she talks about opening the café. Anna Lamb explains; “after years of working long and hard hours in hospitality I was so excited by the opportunity to open Nibble I took the plunge and funded it myself and haven’t received any grant assistance at all, but FEO (For Entrepreneurs Only) did provide a free 8 week Bootcamp course in 2012 which provided me with invaluable business contacts, start-up help and advice for which I will always be grateful”.
Minimalistic in appearance but big in heart; the ethos at Nibble is firmly rooted in the huge culinary movement we’re seeing at the moment as we move away from silver service dining and instead see restaurants focussed on creating high quality, delicious food, within a reasonable budget, served in an informal and friendly environment. Anna Lamb said; “people don’t want fuss but just hearty wholesome food served by a friendly face. We aim to go above and beyond in terms of customer service, all the team are friendly and always smiling, we know the majority of our customers by name already. It’s all open plan so it’s important to me that the atmosphere throughout is not tense but friendly and welcoming, we have a real team spirit and it’s regularly all hands on deck, we all chip in and I’m often the chief pot-washer”.
The food at Nibble is fresh and healthy; best-sellers include their daily hot specials, toasted paninis, soup of the day, homemade cakes and a homemade gourmet sandwich which differs every day.
Anna Lamb said; “it’s been an absolute delight to be able to be creative and adventurous with the menu, making delicious wholesome food that is also healthy. My all-time favourite is our poached eggs with smashed avocado and vine tomatoes on granary bread.” This is gourmet dining at its best; unique and innovative in an area that no doubt will continue to be cool, quirky and up-and-coming. There’s no better place to seek refuge from walking around Hull’s delightful Marina. And with further investment into the surrounding area already underway, including a new £700K 350 seat amphitheatre named Stage @TheDock, extended office space @TheDock and further commercial, retail and residential schemes from Wykeland Beal currently under construction, Nibble is in prime position to be a huge success.
What’s the future for this budding young entrepreneur? Anna Lamb said; “I want to really establish Nibble and add to the whole offering of the Fruit Market area. We have plans to as invest in new equipment and a chiller for ‘grab and go’ drinks and sandwiches, and I’m looking forward to seeing our customers grab a rug and a picnic to enjoy the roof-top garden in the warmer weather, as well as opening on an evening for dinner. I’m also extremely passionate about growing my catering company, Crate & Pallet, and increasing the corporate catering side of the business.”