A closer look at Salwa London with founder Salwa Hallak

A closer look at Salwa London with founder Salwa Hallak

In an exclusive interview for Hospitality News ME, Hodema Consulting Services chats with Salwa Hallak, founder of Salwa London, about her artisan bakery and making it in a competitive market.

What can you tell us about Salwa London?

Salwa London is an artisan patisserie and bakery that seamlessly combines Lebanese heritage with London modernity. We offer a diverse range of pastries, cakes, salads and sandwiches. Furthermore, Salwa London embodies perseverance, hard work and a profound love for baking. Furthermore, its meticulously crafted modernist visual identity draws inspiration from Levantine geometric shapes, reminiscent of Saida’s abundant orange blossoms. This design pays homage to the Lebanese heritage and mirrors the precision infused into every aspect of the business.

What inspired you to come up with the concept of Salwa London?

The inspiration behind the concept of Salwa London stems from my deep-rooted passion for baking and from my grandmother Salwa. She is a typical influential woman with unwavering determination and in constant pursuit of excellence. Following our departure from Lebanon after the August explosion, I aimed to establish a haven for my daughters and myself. Salwa London honors Lebanon’s culinary heritage, blending it seamlessly with London’s vibrant and diverse food culture. In addition, London’s atmosphere and multicultural population provided the perfect backdrop for Salwa London to thrive.

What major challenges did you face in establishing your concept?

Several challenges arose throughout the development of Salwa London, primarily stemming from the transition to a new country and navigating unfamiliar rules and regulations. Understanding the nuances of the larger and more competitive London market was also daunting. Additionally, ensuring that the bakery had the right team in place presented its own set of obstacles. The biggest challenge I faced was the need to balance the demands of the bakery with personal commitments, often requiring sacrifices of time spent with family to fully ensure the project’s success. Despite these challenges, each obstacle presented an opportunity for growth and learning, contributing to the development of Salwa London.

Being Lebanese, did you have to adapt your recipes to suit the taste of British customers?

Our bakery proudly showcases the rich flavors of Lebanese cuisine. It also recognizes the importance of catering to the diverse palates of our British clientele. Consequently, we have infused flavors into our cakes and sandwiches to diversify our menu. However, we deliberately preserved the authenticity of our Lebanese main courses, ensuring that their hearty flavors remained unchanged and true. Offering the authentic flavors of Lebanon to our customers lies at the heart of our bakery’s mission. It’s been a rewarding process to find the perfect balance between honoring tradition and embracing the preferences of our customers. This endeavor has resulted in a unique culinary experience that appeals to a wide audience.

Do you have any projects in the pipeline?

Currently, we’re focused on further establishing Salwa London as a beloved destination for authentic Lebanese cuisine in London. Nonetheless, we’re always exploring opportunities for growth and innovation. Although no specific projects are in the pipeline, we consistently brainstorm to come up with ideas to broaden our offerings and our audience. Whether through new menu additions, collaborations or community events, we’re committed to evolving and delighting our customers with exciting experiences.



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