Big Dave (Director of Vegetarian Concerns) and Little Dave (Director of Meat-Related Arancini Issues) are the wizards behind Sicilian rice ball success story, Arancini Brothers; it's their arancini wraps that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats.
We had a good old chinwag with the two Daves, here's what they had to say.
1. Tell us briefly what your business is about
Its pretty simple really - serving good, easy, fast food, with a healthy and honest twist, at a great price.
2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.
Well, it's been quite a journey for both of us to be honest! We both started in the industry when we were 16 and never left.
Big Dave is Australian with Scandinavian roots, and Little Dave is from New Zealand, so we marry up our native “antipodean” dining flair with some good, classic European food pretty nicely.
After arriving in the UK in the mid 00's, Big D convinced Little D to come over to London after seeing a big gap in the market for reasonably priced, quality food. In 2009, we ventured out onto the streets with an Australian version of the traditional Sicilian arancini, and never really looked back.
Quickly realising Londoners wanted everything in some form of bread, we started wrapping the risotto balls and salad up and before we knew it, we were a big hit and began looking for our first site. Now with three locations, we're looking into franchising and expanding into retailing the risotto balls across the UK, and who knows, maybe beyond?
3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?
Ah, that’s easy - good pizza and pasta. You can't go wrong with The Bite, a small place in Dalston. Cheap, with simple flavours that will make you smile every time.
4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu?
We have always been big believers in doing things differently, and our backgrounds and the culinary traditions we have worked in fuel this. Basically, finding popular options but making them our way, and making them proper tasty!
Our inspiration always starts with vegetarians in mind, meat is always a second thought. We don't rely on the flavour coming from the meat - it's in our salads, stews and risotto balls.
Saying that though, all our meat is specially chosen to work and compliment the meal to the great delight of our carnivorous customers!
5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.
Hmm, not sure how far we can go into this but, despite the urban legends, we are in fact not brothers. We're only related through the mysteries of the arancini - but don’t tell anyone.
6. What's the most popular item on your menu?
Once upon a time, it used to be our lemon chicken wrap with classic mozzarella risotto balls (and don’t get us wrong, they are still awesome and very popular!)
But now, our risotto ball burgers and recently released vegan burger, are quickly taking the capital by storm! Its crazy to hear people saying they're better than the classic meat patty!
7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?
Big D – Fortunately, my wife is an amazing vegetarian cook. Anything she comes up with I'm very happy with, but if she is busy, it's vegemite and cream cheese toasties all the way.
Little D – I do cook at home pretty regularly, but can't say no to a bit of good home delivery from Zing Zing in K town once in a while.
8. What's next for your business?
That’s a good question. We constantly get asked by customers if we are going to open more stores across London, and even beyond. I guess with this in mind, we really want to franchise the concept and potentially get the risotto balls into a retail pack so you can recreate Arancini Brothers at home!
9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
David Byrne for the music. Rick stein - love his clumsy cooking shows and he'd probably bring a nice bit of fish along too. Our mums.
10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?
Ahh, now that’s easy. Pacific Social Club, a café in Hackney E5. Best toasties in London. Don’t all go rushing there at once though, otherwise they may push up the prices!
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