Busy shoppers can take a break in two new cafes
Family-run businesses open their doors in the County Town
Shoppers will be excited to learn two new cafes have opened their doors in Maidstone.
Himalaya Leaf at 22 Union Street and Vesuvius Cafe in unit 9 in the Corn Exchange Market Buildings between Earl Street and High Street are the two newest arrivals.
Vesuvius Cafe aims to bring Neopolitan coffee culture to the county town.
Alessandro Biscardi, 34, who owns the cafe with his sister Barbara, said they wanted to experiment with a cafe after the success of their two Italian trattoria-style restaurants in Tunbridge Wells and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone, which opened in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
The family businesses first took off when they noticed the success of chain restaurants in the area and wanted to introduce Kent residents to the genuine cuisine they grew up on – their cafe takes the same approach.
Mr Biscardi said: “People tend to think of the English ‘caff’ but what we are trying to do is a very cultural idea, keeping things as authentic as possible.”
While many in Maidstone know the Vesuvius name for lunch and dinner, the new cafe serves breakfast, brunch and snacks, as well as coffee.
Also on offer are Italian speciality groceries including bread sticks and traditional drinks.
Mr Biscardi also hopes that the shop could one day host live music act. It joins French eatery Frederic and Cafe Bruges in Market Buildings.
Himalaya Leaf offers a peaceful spot to grab a coffee and a cake to escape the bustle of Week Street shoppers.
The family- run business serves organic Himalayan coffee, gluten free cakes and sugarfree drinks.
It has only open for little more than two weeks butDeepa Thupa, who owns the shop with her husband Top Bahadur says business is going well. A public meeting has taken place as two villages face proposals for a multi-million tonne sandpit on their doorstep.
Days before Christmas, villagers received notice of a KCC consultation looking for views on possible quarries around the county, including two potential soft sand pits, one in Chapel Farm, Lenham, and one in Ryarsh, off Roughetts Road.
The Roughetts Road site could be used to extract 3.1m of soft sand and a further 500,000 tonnes of silica sand over 24 years, while the one in Lenham could be used to extract four million tonnes of sand over a period of 26 years.
This week a meeting took place in Ryarsh Village Hall.
Sharon Thompson, head of planning applications at Kent County Council said: “First and foremost this is not a planning application, it is the really early stages of the plan making process and we’re a long way, if ever, from a planning application.”
Villagers raised concerns dust from the pit could impact health and said dust could be blown over a nearby primary school.
Residents were told in turn that KCC would expect a response on environmental impact as part of its consultation, and would take into account fears over pollution raised on the night.
Smaller sites for sand and gravel extraction have been proposed in Capel, Dartford, Lydd, Tonbridge and Whetsted.
Full details on the consultation, which runs until March 29, are available at tinyurl.com/ mineralconsultation.
Alessandro Biscardi, who owns Vesuvius Cafe with his sister Barbara; Deepa Thupa, who owns Himalaya Leaf
Ryarsh residents outside the field which could become a sand quarry