December 06, 2012

An Interview with Boho Cafe, Canterbury

Boho Cafe Canterbury Culture
Hello dears,

Do you remember when I used to work in a snazzy little cafe in the heart of Canterbury? Do you recall this article? Well, now that I am back in the city, I decided to go and interrogate my old employers and pals, Kristian and Kate of Boho Cafe. This married double act are like peas in a pod, running Boho between themselves with the addition of Kristian's mum Sue and with a little help from sister Portia, too.
That's what I love most about the place: the family vibe. The daddies of Canterbury cafe culture, meet Kristian and Kate.
Where are you from?
Kate: We're from towns apart, us two. I'm from the country town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire and I moved to Nottingham to study textiles. I moved to Canterbury with a (now ex) boyfriend and met Kristian when we both worked at Habitat. We fell in love over the bath towels.

Kris: I'm from everywhere. Start at the beginning Kris, weren't you born in Farnham? Ah yes, spiffing Surrey. Yeah, I lived in Farnham but my Dad was a bit of a dick and did some time and so we were on the run for a while and ended up in Wales. I left home when I was 16 and took a little van down to Cornwall where I wanted to be a surfer dude but it just didn't feel like home. Then I went to Glasgow, which is a really cool city. I studied Art at the uni there on the sly (I didn't get in but the teacher let me come to classes anyway cuz he was cool) and then I met a great tutor from Canterbury who eventually helped me to come down here in 2001.
Kate: Yeah I got here in the summer of 2003.
Boho Cafe Canterbury Culture

Why did you decide to open Boho?

Kate: Well, we opened in February 2006.
Kris: Yeah it was mental. We had all of these ideas together like a shop, a cafe, a mini gallery and we felt like there weren't many cafes in Canterbury where you could get a light bite and a coffee except for Cafe St Pierre.
So basically you had a whole bunch of insane ideas?
Kate: Yeah then we kind of honed it into the cafe. Because of where my parents are from, we've spent a lot of time in Holland and we absolutely love the cafe culture. In European cities there are always dozens of places to grab a coffee, or a glass of wine or whatever you fancy in really chilled atmospheres.
 In England things are a bit more formal and in the past, if you wanted a coffee, you had to go to a pub or something. We feel a bit like the pioneers of cafe culture in Canterbury and wanted to create a place where everyone and anyone could come and have a chat and a coffee or whatever. We're also really kid friendly. We love kids. We have to, we have two!
Kris: I had a bit of money from a property I sold during the boom and then my mum broke up with her fella and came here so we could then abuse her knowledge of running a cafe cuz she's had years of experience. Then my sister came here. Kate's family are moving this way. Canterbury really feels like home. Like a magnet that draws everyone in. It was like loads of fate crossing. We like to think of Boho as...
Kate: The kitchen table?
Kris: Yeah like a big kitchen table that everyone can sit around and eat what they want and enjoy some proper cafe action. We're the kitchen table of Canterbury.
That's poetic, that is. I love it!
Boho Cafe Canterbury Culture
What makes you different?
Kate: I think the fact that we have something for everyone. We're indiscriminate and we love kids, which a lot of places don't in this city. We have loads of mums in the mornings chatting over cups of tea. Our attitude is very laid back and the door is open to everyone to come and meet their friends- like the kitchen table thing I was just talking about.

Your food is pretty delicious as well, isn't it?
Kris: Our food is different to other places in town-  we're quite continental in here so our menu reflects a range of flavours and favourites.
I can smell soup. What flavour is that?
Kris: That's cumin and caramelised onion, baby!
Boho Cafe Canterbury Culture
What are your favourite things to do in Canterbury or places to go?

Joint babbling: Charity shops. The car boot fair. Bike polo on Tuesday evenings. Riding our bikes around the city (even though we're not supposed to, really) and hanging out with Gabe and Audrey, our crazy kids and Marcel and Peaches, the cats.

So there you have it. Another mini insight into one of Canterbury's finest, independent cafes. Breakfast and lunch is always a bustling affair but well worth it. I'd go as far as to say it's one of the best places to eat in the city and one that is full of personality, spunk and fab food... who needs Starbucks with genuine places like this with real, warm family people ?

Additional info:
Check out this super cool picture of Boho showing a former shop owner from decades ago and Kristian now. Isn't it nice to think that building has always been home to little businesses?

Should you wish to go visit Kate and Kristian, here's the deets:

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