Kosher is still king with Lulu’s Kitchen in Cheadle opening recently. JLife spoke to the new proprieter Lee Oehley about the brand new deli on Wilmslow Road.
When Lee Oehley and her husband Phil relocated to Manchester nine years ago, they probably never expected that they would one day open a deli in their adopted home.
Nevertheless, enter Lulu’s Kitchen in Cheadle, a kosher eatery and deli with an emphasis on New York style, Middle Eastern and Eastern European dishes and light meals. Lee, in particular, seized the opportunity when the long-running Titanics kosher store closed down, leaving the site vacant for a new business venture. Her main aim was to keep the heart of the community on Wilmslow Road alive: “When the previous shop closed it was a big thing and we didn’t want to live in a place where a Jewish shop wasn’t sustainable or not readily available,” Lee explains. “We specifically moved to South Manchester and to Cheadle because it was a vibrant community.”
Since opening its doors, the eatery – which is registered under the Sephardi Kashrut Authority (SKA) – has had a great response from the local area: “Lots of people are interested in Jewish food which is fabulous. We’ve been very well-received by the local Jewish community, as well as the non-Jewish community too,” Lee tells JLife. “In particular we’ve had loads of local people – who are not Jewish – coming in and being interested in what we do and what we eat. It really is a great multi-faith opportunity.”
This is a completely new career for Lee, who was previously a lawyer, but stopped working for a number of years to raise her and Phil’s four sons. Initially emigrating from South Africa to Basingstoke to accommodate Phil’s position with South African company BMI Healthcare, an opportunity came around to transfer up north, and Cheadle was the ideal choice for the young family: “So when the shop [Titanics] closed we were really quite devastated from a community point of view, and that was the incentive to have a go at it.”
With Phil’s management and business experience and Lee’s vision, Lulu’s Kitchen quickly became a reality. The new proprietor has bounds of enthusiasm and an ardent love of food, honed from working with traditional recipes passed on by relatives: “My mother and my granny were good old South African cooks. I love food and I love people so this is the perfect opportunity.” And the menu, assures Lee, which ranges from soups, bagels and sandwiches to salads and baked goods is always evolving to include an eclectic range of influences as well as crowd-pleasing favourites: “We’ve got lots of different things happening in the deli. We have lots of delicious food and we’re always trying new things all the time. We just make things that are yummy and fresh as well as good old-fashioned Jewish food.”
And have any tastes from home snuck onto Lulu’s Kitchen’s extensive menu? “There’s lots of South African things on the menu. Obviously South Africa lends itself well to fresh salads for example because of the climate, and that’s really the way I cook. I’m proud to say there’s not a jacket potato in sight!”
To view the menu or to find out more, visit Luluskitchen.co.uk or like the Facebook page at @Luluskitchencheadle.
41 Wilmslow Road