Vote for your favourite hospitality venue in Brent

The Shawl

Is The Shawl in Harlesden your favourite pub in Brent? - Credit: Google

Local businesses in hospitality have been pushed to the brink by the coronavirus pandemic – and we’re here to support them get back to their feet.  

Saturday September 18, 2021, marks National Hospitality Day, so a great day to go out and support local outlets.

The UK-wide initiative (a combined project between charities Hospitality Action, The Drinks Trust, Springboard and Licensed Trade Charity), urges customers to leave no business behind this autumn. 

In the meantime, Brent locals have voted their favourite cafes, pubs and restaurants - and now we have a shortlist to decide overall winners. 

So who would you rate the finalists overall?

The Early Bird, in Empire Way, Wembley Park, is people's favourite place to eat according a survey done by the Times.

Christine Coke, founder of Early Bird

Christine Coke, founder of Early Bird - Credit: Christine Coke

Christine Coke turned her back on a lucrative career in the City and launched her café 18 years ago in November 2004.

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"We've been really blessed," said the entrepreneur who offers outside catering as well as sit down meals.

She expanded her company a year before Covid hit the industry opening another unit in Willesden catering to hotels and businesses such as Wembley Stadium and SSE Arena.

"Business was good until the pandemic then everything crashed. The shop was really struggling. One day we made only £35.

"No-one would give us a grant because they said we did take away. Then Brent Council took pity on us and gave us a grant and we just carried on from there and built it back up."

Enjoy Caribbean food at Early Bird

Enjoy Caribbean food at Early Bird - Credit: Cristine Coke

Early Bird does mostly English and Caribbean cuisine and Christine has a jerk pan enabling her to offer "jerk chicken straight off the grill".

She recently moved to offer vegan dishes and also has an Indian chef and African chef working with her. "We are very adaptable," she added.

XOXO Coffee & Patisserie opened in November 2019, and a few months later forced to close. 

Co-owner Nida Khan said: "We were opening then closing then opening then closing. It's getting better, slowly, slowly. It's still not what we expected but we are getting there."

Co-owner Wajahat Malik, said they will soon introduce a loyalty scheme as they received "a massive amount of support" from the local community after they reopened in June 2020.

The café also won Brent Council's Interior Award 2021.

The best pubs in Brent were The Shawl, in High Street, Harlesden, which offers live music, karaoke and 'cheap drinks'. 

The Green Man, in Dagmar Avenue, Wembley and The Kilburn Arms in Willesden Lane are also popular.

New Kingston Jamaican Cuisine in Blackbird Hill, Wembley Park was rated as "finger lickin' good' and Sanzio Restaurant in Station Parade, Willesden Green was applauded for its "great service" and "nice ambience".

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