The Artworks Elephant is a growing hub with lots of new business popping up in their many repurposed shipping containers, but some have been there much longer and are rooted in the local community. One of them being Marcel & Sons, an innovative showroom and Mauritian tearoom. Their ever evolving menu takes on elements from Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Korean food, with an emphasis on comfort food. We’re huge fans of their Bol Renversé and Bao Pao, so if you’re a big foodie like us you’ll want to read on!
Open Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 9pm
Nearest Tube: Elephant & Castle
We caught up with Andy and Randy, the pair behind Marcel & Sons, to find out what influences their cooking and discover just why they’ve been voted Timeout Award for Most Loved Local Restaurant in Kennington & Elephant and Castle for the third year running!
What can someone who’s never been to your restaurant expect?
We cook Mauritian Comfort Food. Basically this is food that we grew up with, cooked by family, friends or found by hawkers throughout the streets of Mauritius. The food has a varied background, with influences from the Far East, India, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Everyone from Mauritius has come from somewhere else, and they have brought with them their own influences, cultures and recipes to this exotic island in the Indian Ocean. Over the generations, these influences begin to merge with the land and produce, with our neighbours and friends. And now, we’ve brought it here to Elephant & Castle.
You both came from an advertising background. How did the idea to open Marcel & Sons come about?
Our family come from a long line of business owners and traders. The idea to start and run our own business always sat in the back of our minds.
It wasn’t until 2013 when we visited Asia that we finally decided to seriously consider the possibility of starting our own restaurant. The food scene across Asia is so vibrant, and we saw how happy people were doing what they loved to do. So when we came back to our jobs in London we had to ask ourselves, is this what we want to do for the rest of our lives? Can we see ourselves doing this job until we are 60, 70, 80 years old? Would we be happy? So a year later we opened Marcel & Sons!
How important is family to the menu and food you serve?
Everything we do has its roots in our family recipes and in the dishes that we grew up eating. At their core, each of the dishes we serve is anchored to a specific time, place or memory. But we don’t stop there. Everyone involved in Marcel & Sons is passionate and creative, so we aim to pour all that into our dishes to push them on with our own ideas, techniques, local ingredients or influences, much like what our ancestors did when they first came to Mauritius from the Far East in the 19th century.
All our dishes are in some way rooted in tradition, we take all of this rich history and all of our family knowledge passed down through the generations, mixed with our own enthusiasm, skills, knowledge and technique and that is what we make here in our shop.
Do you have a favourite or special dish?
Randy: Not sure I could pick a favourite, so here are two.
Mine Bouille, which translates to Boiled Noodles – A Mauritian noodle dish. Ramen like noodles, a simple soy and fish sauce dressing and whatever garnishes you want to throw on there. So simple but really delicious.
Chicken Rice. A bit like a Mauritian version of Hainanese Chicken Rice. Deceptively simple, but not so easy to make well.
We offer these as specials every now and again for friends, but not regularly as part of our menu. I guess that means there’s more to come from us!
How does it feel to win a Timeout Award for Most Loved Local Restaurant in Kennington & Elephant and Castle again?
Winning it for the first time was fantastic. A real pat on the back and a vindication for everything we are trying to do. To have won it three years in a row is almost surreal. Almost makes us feel legit! It’s voted for by the public, so it shows we have a good connection with people who come to visit us in the shop.
What makes Elephant and Castle the perfect location for your restaurant?
We both live here so it was a no brainer.
Finally, what are some of your favourite hangouts in London?
East Street Market is always fun and good to have it on our doorstep. Camberwell is great for food. Some of our favourite restaurants are there.
Will you be heading to Marcel & Sons for some hearty Bol Renversé? Let us know in the comments below!