Ugly Duck

by Clemi Cruickshank

Clemi has been a major player at Bread & Honey for two years. Before joining us, she worked as a wedding manager at Bijou Weddings and as a marketing executive at Quintessentially.

I’m always thrilled when we get asked to bring our events production and food services to great venues, and one of the best in London has to be Ugly Duck’s incredible space near Bermondsey.

Ugly Duck is an awesome social enterprise which revitalises underused spaces and makes them available for creative uses and commercial hire.

I’m in love with their uber-cool Victorian warehouse at Tanner Street, which offers three floors of atmospheric spaces. Think wooden beams and floorboards, exposed brickwork and masses of original features.

Ugly Duck called in our event production service to help showcase its stunning loft space, with soaring vaulted ceiling and eye-popping views across the capital.

It’s a unique space which can be mean and moody or light, bright and cheerful, depending on how it’s lit and dressed, making it highly sought-after for art projects.

We wanted to show off the space in all its natural, raw glory so we kept things sleekly simple with our design.

Two white-washed refectory-style tables, each flanked with informal vases of vibrant green and white English flowers, provided an earthy warmth to proceedings. We kept place settings cool, crisp and modern with ice-white plates and minimum frills and fuss.

Our design was focused on letting the incredible venue do the talking, so lighting was used to accentuate the industrial tones of the exposed brick. To add intimacy in such a gloriously vast space, we weaved fairy lights through the roof rafters above guests.

Next up was coming up with a culinary theme which would showcase just how versatile the space could be. Fortunately, the people at Ugly Duck like to think outside the box too, so we both decided that a quirky beach theme would be just the ticket for a warm June evening – in South East London.

We’re all for fun themes for canapés – after all, they’re designed to be served at parties and social gatherings. But in order to avoid it being tacky, the food needs to be top notch.

Like our Fish and Chips canapés in which we served the best of day catch, crumbed, alongside triple cooked chips and homemade tartare sauce – all served in classy mini paper cones.

Also doing the rounds on the platters were Bay Scallop in the Shell and Summer Rolls, in a rice paper wrap with shredded vegetables and hoi sin sauce; Gazpacho Shots, Caesar Salad Tartlets and Tiger Prawn Coconut fritters.

Keeping guests topped up with the right selection of beverages is essential in the success of an event. We offered a choice of Prosecco, Peroni, red and white wine as well as a variety of non-alcoholic alternatives. And that all went down a treat with the 100 guests.

Our staff are accustomed to getting to grips with new venues, something which is essential in unusual or quirky venues. And in high-demand venues such as this, it’s vital they can set-up and clear-down efficiently, quickly and perfectly, leaving a blank canvas for the next event – of course they managed all three (Yay us!)

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