A new bar and kitchen has opened in Brockley by the owners of the former Orchard restaurant, offering an “affordable“ and “relaxed’ eating and drinking experience.

Ellary’s officially opened its doors on December 6, following refurbishment works to the building that formerly housed Orchard.

It was founded by couple Emily Conway, 42, and Edmund Bing, 42, who describe themselves as “south east London born and bred” with a love of their hometown.

News Shopper: The venue has been redecorated and redesignedThe venue has been redecorated and redesigned (Image: Emily Conway)

After 14 years in business, the couple decided to close the “beloved” restaurant Orchard due to rising concerns they had over the cost-of-living crisis, as well as how the after-effects of Covid and Brexit may affect their business.

Following an “outpouring” of support, the couple launched a fundraiser to get £20,000 towards their new venture to reopen the former restaurant as a bar and kitchen, under the new name of Ellary’s.

Emily said: “The crowdfunder was amazing, we had an incredible response.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed and humbled with how quickly we managed to reach the target ahead of the end date.

“It was really wonderful, and it really filled us with a sense of purpose and a feeling that we can achieve our goals.”

After launching the Crowdfunder in September, the couple managed to raise over £23,000, allowing them to start redecoration and redesign works to reopen to Brockley as Ellary’s.

The bar, the couple said, would serve as a place offering a casual dining setting for customers to be able to spend “as little or as much as they can afford” in response to “the changing world we live in.”

News Shopper: Ellary's offers a welcoming and casual environmentEllary's offers a welcoming and casual environment (Image: Emily Conway)

During the redesign stages, the couple redecorated the space, changing colour schemes and adding a variety of seating options, to provide visitors with an array of choices from eating in to a casual drink.

Ed said: “We changed the look aesthetically, we’ve not done anything drastic to the structure but we’ve got different colours and we've got different seating areas, so it looks different to Orchard to reflect that it’s no longer a restaurant.

“We've done some stuff behind the scenes as well, we had to relay the flooring in both the front kitchen and the prep kitchen at the rear, and that cost a lot of money.

“Along with storage and electrical work, all necessary stuff behind the scenes.

“We also removed the former fish tank to make the space feel a lot more open and wider.”

The couple explained that these changes have been done to “reflect” the change in business, transforming it from a restaurant to a more casual and “cost-effective” space for their guests.

News Shopper: Guests have a choice of areas in which to drink and dineGuests have a choice of areas in which to drink and dine (Image: Emily Conway)
Emily said: “We were much more of a restaurant, a lot of it was dining height before.

“Now we've got sofa areas, we’ve got high banquettes, we've got low banquettes.

“We've still got dining spaces, but we've got a lot of different types of spaces which, over this weekend, which is our first proper weekend, were absolutely packed, which was brilliant.

“And it was lovely to see that all working, to see where people gravitated and how they used the space.”

Emily said that the new space will offer diners the option to spend as little or as much as they are able, whilst still being able to use the space in Brockley.

The menu has been adapted to reflect a smaller and more affordable range of options, from nibbles and bar snacks, to hot plates like homemade burgers and their “incredibly popular” steak dish.

The couple explained that their key desire was to create a smaller menu that didn’t create waste and that allowed for costs to be kept down “for both us and the customer.”

However, they added that the menu may grow over time or change with new options to “freshen up” the selection, along with seasonal options using locally sourced produce.

News Shopper: The menu offers an affordable range of optionsThe menu offers an affordable range of options (Image: Emily Conway)

Emily said: “People can come and have a £5 glass of wine and maybe some pâté, and really feel like they haven't spent a huge amount, but they've got out of the house and done something and been part of the atmosphere here.

“So that's what we're really chuffed about, that we've been able to create that.

“But people have come in since opening to have a meal, wine and cocktails so it’s definitely a multi-use space.”

Since opening, the couple have been met with a “massively positive” response, with the venue being full of people over its opening weekend.

Ed said: “Our plan was to allow the space to be used by people who just wanted to join us for drinks and maybe a small plate of food or some nibbles, not necessarily to join us for a full meal.

“We've always welcomed people, both as The Orchard in the past and as Ellary's. We are a warm, friendly, welcoming neighbourhood place to eat.

“It was great that people did use the space like that, that they were sticking around for some mulled wines or some pints and weren't anxious that they were somehow taking up seating space with people that would otherwise be having a meal with us.”

News Shopper: A warm, welcoming, friendly place to eatA warm, welcoming, friendly place to eat (Image: Emily Conway)

For Emily and Ed, they described the year as an “emotional roller coaster”, from announcing their closure in July to reopening as a new business only 5 months later.

Ed said: “It's been a bit of a roller coaster.

“We were in a position where we felt that we had no choice but to close, really, not just for recognising the difficult economical situation that all businesses and hospitality were in, but also from our personal work-life balance with two young children, realising that the business as it was, although it wasn't failing, was becoming less and less sustainable for us as people trying to run it really.

“And then to go from that to full circle, to be sat here with a place looking completely different and customers being really enthusiastic about it, it’s incredible.

“It's gone from like a movie script, really, from being stuck in a position where we don't have much of a choice and feeling that we have to make some big decisions to this.

“We were able to pick out the things that were great and try and carry them on, and address the things that were challenging and change those, and realise that we needed to do a big rebrand and a big refresh, which we have done, and open the doors to Ellary's.

“And so far we’re off to a good start.”