CODE meets Brodie Meah & Max Venning, Top Cuvée

Published 7 October 2020

by Harriet Prior

A real lockdown triumph, this week we chat to founders of Top Cuvée – and more recently Shop Cuvée – Brodie Meah and Max Venning. They speak about pivoting their offering quickly, the highs and lows of launching a physical shop and keeping standards high.

It’s safe to say you’re a lockdown success story. How did you pivot your offering so quickly? 

We’d been following along with events in Italy and  knew that as soon as the virus took hold here in the UK we’d be following a similar path. We had a meeting before lockdown was announced and decided we should preemptively close the restaurant. Having zero turnover was not an option for us especially as the furlough scheme was not announced so to operate as a shop and takeaway was the essential choice.  

Tell us a bit more about launching Shop Cuvée.

Presented with  the rare  opportunity to pause our business and focus all resources on launching a new one, we decided that everything we do should be with a view of carrying on after things return to normal. We need more space for the online operations so to marry that with a retail space that allows us to expand the deli offering and continue serving our local community  was perfect. 

What kind of wines and produce do you be sell? 

We’re aiming to get restaurant quality food and ingredients onto people’s plates at home so deli items from our trusted suppliers at Top Cuvee. Same with the wines- we’ll continue working with our many small suppliers to offer as many natural wines as possible. The selection will change inline with the seasons 

And will you be continuing your successful delivery service? 

Yes absolutely; we’re currently working on ways to make it 100% in house so we’re not relying on any 3rd party couriers for local deliveries this will allow us to expand our reach and improve the service.  Next working day nationwide delivery is going very well and continues to grow. We would like to see even more parcels heading even further  outside of London as we go on. 

On to Top Cuvée –for those that haven’t visited, how would you describe it in a few sentences?  

A lively neighbourhood restaurant with a great bar serving natural food and seasonal wine. 

What kind of food can guests expect?

 Sharing plates, featuring seasonal local ingredients with daily specials and a few classics.

How will you ensure standards are kept high across both the shop and restaurant? 

The location is ideal being just a few doors down. The way we intend to run them both is very interlinked, sharing staff across both venues and with the shop acting as the restaurant cellar so buying etc will be centralised.  We don’t really see it as a new place just an extension of what we already are. We also have a very strong and dedicated team so that makes things much easier. 

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to succeed in the hospitality industry? 

Work hard and focus on what you are doing. Try to learn as much as you can about every aspect of your role and apply the positive aspects of what you’ve learned as you progress through your career. 

What is the most important thing this year has taught you? 

You can do anything you want, but it won’t necessarily be easy to acheive 

What’s next for Top (and Shop) Cuvée for 2020 and beyond? 

Bigger focus on food and deli items in the shop, expand our reach to more cities across the country for delivery, pop-ups and events around London and continue the party as always at Top Cuvée.  

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Probably one of those buffets that has every type of food.

To find out more about Top or Shop Cuvée, visit the website here

To read more CODE meets, click here 

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