Fernandez & Wells was founded by us (Jorge Fernandez and Rick Wells) in 2006, the result of a meeting in a coffee shop. At the time Jorge was manager at the Monmouth Coffee Company while Rick, a journalist with the BBC, was a regular customer. The vision was (and is) to provide a simple menu of the best food and drink products we can find and serve them in a space that is both beautiful and welcoming.
After six months walking the streets, we settled on a shop in Soho, 43 Lexington Street, an unoccupied former boutique on the ground floor and basement of an early 18th-century townhouse. With the help of architect and friend William Tozer, the aim was to create a food and wine bar with the feel of a continental market stall.
Two months later, a newsagent came up for sale around the corner in Beak Street, in a similar Georgian building with a wonderful Soho street view from the front window. Taking this on enabled us to complete the F&W offer with some excellent coffee, sandwiches and cake.
When asked, our inspiration comes from the shepherd’s knapsack. The core products – cured meats, farmhouse cheese, sourdough bread and cakes, coffee and European wines – are chosen for their authenticity and great flavour.
The style is rustic and wholesome but in a setting that is definitely urban and contemporary.
From these Soho roots, branches have grown and we now have 5 shops in central London. The idea of this Journal is to record the continuing F&W story, our products, people and buildings.