At its core, Kiln is a Mediterranean bar and kitchen. However in reality, it’s a lot more than that. Located in Newcastle and using St. Martin’s Coffee, it’s an open creative space for local residents, Kiln combines a café, restaurant, bar, whilst next-door and viewable through the large dividing windows lives 1265 Degrees North, their own pottery and ceramics workshop. All ceramics used within Kiln have been lovingly hand thrown by Jun and Rich next door, and are used by some of the nation’s best establishments, including several Michelin starred restaurants.
Opening 18 months ago with a brand new Linea Classic on their bar, Kiln had a desire to serve specialty coffee to Newcastle from the beginning. We recently visited their space in Ouseburn, on the outskirts of Newcastle, to sit down and have a conversation about Kiln, their reasons for choosing a Linea Classic and their journey so far. This is the third feature in our Linea Classic campaign, and we hope you enjoy reading!
“We went for the classic because in all the coffee shops throughout Europe, the classic is synonymous with quality and frill free coffee. We wanted a machine that was entirely analogue so that we could learn and get used to every inch of the machine without assistance. Its like buying an analogue camera, there’s something beautiful about the depth to its photographs, the snap of the shutter and chunky buttons; likewise our Kiln. We painstakingly hand-fire the Kiln (even though automated Kilns are the norm in the industry!) precisely in order to maintain a level of control and craftsmanship over the finished product. The same goes for our coffee. For us, the classic represents that mark of quality and craftsmanship. It has the ability to work continuously and efficiently like a true workhorse, without suffering a reduction in quality. The last espresso of the day is as good as the first. It also forces our staff to get to grips with all the necessary skills involved in coffee making, they in turn become craft coffee makers and have genuine pride in what they can achieve when working with such a finely tuned machine.
Kiln’s primarily a creative space. It combines a ceramic studio, cafe, restaurant and bar. We started out making ceramics for Michelin chefs up and down the country. The concept for Kiln came about as a unique way for us to showcase our product. As we made tableware, we thought, what better way to display it then in action? Thus the idea of a living exhibition space came about. That combined with our passion for food led to the shared space idea.
We both love food and are united in the idea that food should be given due importance. It is our nourishment, both social and physical. It deserves to be presented beautifully and shared together. Kiln combines our distinct backgrounds (Geffen – Mediterranean, Richard – Northumbrian) It’s a fusion of the best of both cultures. The Mediterranean ideals of taking time over food and sharing many small dishes with the no-nonsense Northumbrian attitude of hearty plates made from local great quality ingredients. Thus our bestseller the ‘Hummus Sharer’ is a hearty sharing plate, lovingly prepared from local ingredients with a few exotically Middle Eastern additions. As the food is served entirely on our own ceramics the visitors enjoy the ceramics directly and in a very tangible way. They can see, touch and feel the plate in their hands. The connection with the ceramic product is strengthened by the glass partition through which visitors can see every part of the process of turning raw clay into beautiful pots. Throwing, turning, glazing and firing all demonstrated. The centrepiece of the workshop is the Kiln itself, which when firing provides a spectacular flame display.
The point of the space is to re-unite people with the history of craft in the UK. Kiln sits in what was once one of the largest production centres of ceramic manufacture in Europe. Our aim is to re-generate proper, old-fashioned, hand thrown craft made by skilled individuals, whilst educating, inspiring and connecting with people in the community. We allow all our visitors access and an insight into the process behind sustainable and skilled manufacture. We use methods for ceramic production that humans have used for thousands of years. The integration of historical knowledge passed through generations within a contemporary setting where people can drink, eat, relax, enjoy live music, participate in open days and clay workshops, is I believe what makes Kiln so unique.
We chose to open Kiln in Newcastle for a variety of reasons. We both grew up in and around the region and have strong ties to the area. Newcastle is famous for its industry; the city was built on manufacture and we wanted to celebrate its history of production. We also felt extremely excited to be a part of the burgeoning food scene in Newcastle. Having grown up in Newcastle we have witnessed the transformation of the city into a hotspot for good quality independent coffee shops, restaurants and bars. We felt that what we had to offer would work well in Newcastle, as there wasn’t anything quite like Kiln making it a unique new offering already. Newcastle is famed for its easy-going people and its nightlife. We felt that we would slot in well as an alternative space that gave people a new experience but still align nicely with the culture of the Ouseburn area in Newcastle.”
This is the third post of a new weekly series where we’ll be highlighting notable Linea Classics throughout the UK and Ireland. Stay tuned for next week’s post!