Porridge doesn’t have to be boring and the newest vendor at Boxpark is livening up the breakfast staple as well as serving monster sized flapjacks.
Oatopia, which is opening in the food and drink mall by East Croydon station on Monday (August 7), specialises in making porridge and flapjacks made from oats with all kinds of flavours and toppings. Based in at unit 71, next door to Knot, Oatopia will also be serving up bagels and coffee for a complete breakfast or meal anytime of the day.
If you fancy a bowl of porridge you could choose from toppings such as banutty – which is honey, peanut butter and banana – or maple syrup and bacon. You could even make up your own topping. Its flapjacks are no ordinary kind – they have earned the nickname fatjacks because, with their “Herculean stature”, they are as high as they are wide, explains the Oatopia website. The flapjacks and also the oat-based energy balls come in a range of 30 different flavours. For example, there’s salted caramel, almond bakewell and a millionaire flapjack – which is a flapjack version of the chocolate topped, caramel centre millionaire shortbread.
Oatopia even have a vegan range and serve vegan porridge too. They are aiming to eventually make at least half of their flapjacks suitable for vegans. Bagels are filled will the likes of bacon, lettuce and tomato; smoked salmon and cream cheese; and bacon and avocado, to name a few, or you can make up your own or just have plain butter and jam. There are oat and fruit smoothies on the menu and yoghurt-based foods such yoghurt fruit parfait. And there is a full range of coffee on the menu.
Oatopia was launched in 2011 by the Brighton-based Coleman family. It was mum Tamar who started it and her husband Peter and daughters Sophie, 26, and Yasmin, 23 are all involved in the business. The business began when the athletic family, who would compete at triathlons and endurance events, found at the time they were unable find fresh, healthy and nutritious food at event sites. Sophie, who was a professional triathlete and cyclist, explained why they decided to use oats. “You can be very creative. There is a huge amount you can do with them,” she said. “As we explored the world of events we realised actually everybody these days wants to eat healthily when they are on the go.” From starting out serving their products at sports events, the family moved on to music festivals and once had a pitch at Brighton Station. They also have one franchise selling their products and you can buy their flapjacks and energy balls from their online shop. The Coleman family used to make the products themselves but nowadays they have a team of bakers producing them from recipes devised by Tamar. Oatopia has a partnership with the oat brand Mornflake which only uses its oats in its products.
The unit at Boxpark will be Oatopia’s first permanent eatery and flagship branch. It will be managed by chef and coffee making expert Joe McGowen. Oatopia is taking over one of the two units occupied by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, which still has a unit at number 67 but has closed its second. Sophie explained the family had been considering opening a permanent site and the its locality to the station and not being far from Croydon were some of the reasons for taking up the unit when Boxpark approached them. She added: “We also think that Boxpark has created a very cool hub for people to socialise, to meet, and we like the atmosphere there. We really think it is bringing something new, vibrant and exciting to East Croydon. For us, having continuous trade is ideal for our kind of product. All these things encouraged us to go for it.”