Interview with the founder of Iron Bloom - William Knowles-Mofford
What is your background?
Our background is in cocktail bars; Looking Glass Cocktail Club is an iconic London Cocktail brand which continues to thrive after 6 years. Not only is Looking Glass a thriving Shoreditch cocktail club, we have also had the pleasure of working in collaboration with other monumental brands such as Ted Baker, Missguided, Taste of London, Vogue, Netflix, Jura Whiskey and GQ. We also support the underground music and arts scene showcasing new artists from all over the world. Looking Glass Cocktail Club is the hub of our business and will continue its inspiring work; however it is now time to expand.
Tell us about the idea behind Iron Bloom?
Iron Bloom was born of a love for food,cocktails and industrial design. The small plates are deconstructed classic British dishes. The cocktails are paired to the the dishes and are mastered by our sibling venue Looking Glass Cocktail Club. Iron Bloom is meant to be a social hub of Shoreditch for feasting on small sharing plates, drinking excellent cocktails whilst surrounded by industrial interiors designed by the Iron Bloom interiors team while listening to what we like to call supper house. Our resident DJ’s are chosen for their ability to create an ambience that makes your experience all the more special. Iron Bloom isn’t just about food and booze, it’s about a space that from the moment you walk in, everything feels just right and you can make the most of your night with your friends and loved ones.
What did the renovation process look like?
The refurb was a complete gutting and regenerating project. The building had nice bones but had been functionally covered by naff 90's office features. Demolitions were a big job and were happily undertaken by the sledge hammer welding William Knowles-Mofford (Director) and Marco Zanotto (GM and partner) (both of whom have mild anger management problems we were more than happy to get stuck into the demolitions). Post demolition was predominantly welding and fabricating the metal structures that make up this industrially beautiful former factory. I’ve always had a love for industrial interior design and, as a self declared citizen of the globe, I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC where I am inspired by the meat packing district and all of its architecture and design. Inspired and hungry for an industrial space to redevelop, you can imagine how I felt when I first walked into 46 Great Eastern Street (now Iron Bloom). I was decidedly in heaven and could not have had more fun facing up to a challenge then I did when executing this project.
What can you tell us about food at Iron Bloom?
Our dishes are all deconstructed classic British dishes, taking our classic favourites such as cauliflower cheese, guinea fowl roast, oxtail stew and steak, breaking them down and serving them in ways not seen before. The Idea being that English food is fantastic and influenced from all over the world which makes it very special. However we find the traditional dishes very large and heavy which is why, at Iron Bloom, we have modified the dishes to make smaller plates of our favourite classic dishes. Traditional English food is now something that you can enjoy in style as a precursor to a night out in London.
What would you say are the current food trends in London?
Current food trends in London are, I believe, taking simple dishes, even traditionally sneered at fast food dishes and revamping them with a little style. Making something originally down market, stodgy and reserved for greasy spoons and work-mens' cafes and bringing them into the modern dining world. Jellied eels and mash, hot dogs, burgers and kebabs are fantastic ideas it's just that 90% of their culinary world didn’t take them seriously enough. So current trend is taking these traditionally sneered at proletarian dishes and giving them attention and quality and reintroducing them into the modern world.
What would you say is better, following trends or keeping it classic?
T.S. Eliot would have argued for Tradition and the Individual Talent. He was, of course, speaking about literature, but we believe that it applies here as well. A successful concept must pay attention to both what’s on trend as well as keeping classic pillar dishes which are greatly loved by everyone.
What would you like Iron Bloom to mean to London, and Shoreditch?
Shoreditch boomed about 10 years ago and has put a cool, comparatively underground area on the global map. Shoreditch became a brand name and is currently lodged in the mainstream of our little patch of the global west. With this, of course, has come a slight dilution of what Shoreditch’s night life scene used to be like and what made it famous and Iron Bloom is attempting to bring that back with both its offering and its vibe.