Tamper Cafe Interiors and celebrating our 20 years there.
If you know Sheffield well and you love coffee then there is a big chance you have heard of Tamper or you have been there. There are 2 cafe’s one on Westfield Terrace and one on Arundel Street at Sellers Wheel in the industrial quarter, owned by Jon and Natalie Perry. Loving independent shops and cafe’s I found the Sellers Wheel cafe in 2014, a year after it had opened. Whenever I venture up to Sheffield I always pop in there and have lunch, sometimes just a coffee and take in the interiors and the atmosphere. Coffee is one thing I absolutely adore, but having had stomach ulcers means it’s something I can’t drink every day. So when I venture into Tamper it’s like my one treat I really look forward to.
When I think back to my days of working in Meadowhall 1990 -1991, I remember there being Pollards, a coffee roaster that also happened to be a cafe. You would walk around the corner where the escalators now venture up to Boots, and you could smell the coffee beans way before you got to the shop and cafe. Having a victorian and very traditional feel, it was just a place where people wanted to sit down have a refreshment and food, it was never about creating a whole experience for the consumer. Coffee enthusiasts could buy coffee beans and have them ground up to take home. Fast forward 26 years and the cafe culture has completely changed. Across the city, there are really good coffee shops now offering a lot more than just somewhere to stop and give your feet a 5-minute break.
Thinking of the cafe culture that has hit our city and the way Tamper has changed the way we think of food, coffee, meeting friends, having this space as an area to relax with our family and loved ones, or even a place to hold a work meeting, I wanted to find out more about the New Zealand cafe culture. I needed to understand why is it that they are 5 years ahead of us when it comes to this amazing roasted bean and how we incorporate it so much into our lives.
New Zealand ranks higher than the US and Australia when it comes to the amount of coffee consumed and Kiwi’s are crazy about coffee, creating a coffee shop on every corner. This country also has more roasters per capita than anywhere in the world and when you register that it makes you realise why New Zealand has such a coffee culture and why the Kiwi’s take their coffee so seriously. The importance of coffee in this country is a similar comparison to the importance of wine to Australia. Talking to Natalie, one-half of the duo that set up Tamper and the inspiration behind the interiors, she said that you would walk into a cafe in New Zealand and it would be full but there would be at least another 3 coffee shops to go to very close by that was equally as good. The coffee would be great, the food and the atmosphere. New Zealand is where the first flat white was invented, and many cafe’s buy freshly ground beans from a roaster that would be close by, to be able to make the perfect flat white. Now in the UK, we are catching up and there are more coffee shops taking how it serves its coffee more seriously.
Because Natalie and Jon spent so much time back In New Zealand, they loved coffee, loved the cafe culture and when they moved back to South Yorkshire they saw a massive opportunity to create a place where consumers could experience a whole new way of eating good food and drinking exceptionally good coffee. Jon has barista’s that work for him and they have to have at least one year’s experience before being able to work there. Jon focuses on the running of the cafe’s and producing the best service, best coffee, and best atmosphere. If you venture down Arundel Street on a weekend day you will see it is very quiet, but opening the door to Tamper, you see and hear a vibrant atmosphere straight away. No matter what time I have ventured there it has always been busy.
Natalie focuses on the interior side of the business. Having worked as a visual merchandiser at a younger age, pretty much like me loves looking at everything in a visual way. Natalie has a very keen eye for interiors, trends and has great style herself. Talking about the inspiration for the design of Tamper, Natalie explained that the building and its history had to be taken into consideration when coming up with the look for the cafe.
The Sellers Wheel grade-two listed building gets its name from John Sellers who had his business there from around 1862 until 1975. Being a Silversmith and making penknife blades, razors, surgical instruments and cutlery, this is what most people will think about when they think of the Sellers Wheel, but John Sellers also made engraving plates and made the template for the stamp that was used to print the american dollar, which is an amazing fact. The building was restored from its former workshop and I love the fact that it kept so many of its original features. The exposed brickwork having been sandblasted is all original and the way Natalie has enhanced the industrial theme by adding industrial lighting, old school chairs, laboratory benches that are now tables to eat at, makes it very easy on the eye. Natalie really wanted to work with the building and collaborated with a contact in Doncaster who spent time sourcing old school equipment, and workbenches, which gives a relaxed, timeless feel to the place. Lot’s of the furniture looks like it has always been there and that adds to the concept of what Natalie and Jon wanted to create.
Newark Antiques Fair is another source of where some of the furniture came from and Natalie gave me a tour of the cafe to show me some of the interior features. Seeing some of the task lighting that had been picked up from her travels to Berlin, you get the feeling that she is always on the lookout for new exciting items to add to the decor. A local Auctioneer also provided smaller items like the vintage cutlery used in the cafe.
Having spent many a time there over the last 3 years, it just made sense to have my anniversary meal and share my love of the place with my family. It didn’t disappoint, everyone loved how relaxing the atmosphere was. Being a very busy Saturday we hired the boardroom out for the afternoon. There is a small step that leads up to a quiet room away from the bustling vibrant restaurant area. Why I loved it was that I knew we would all be able to walk around the room and interact with each other, as some of my family live quite far away we don’t get a chance to catch up very often. Years gone by I have found sitting in a restaurant as a big family much harder as everyone feels compelled to stay in their seat, so having the right space was important and I knew this was a big focus for me. The boardroom has been designed by Natalie in much the same way as the rest of Tamper. It has original oiled floorboards, an amazing Brazilian mahogany table that Natalie said she was so happy about because it fitted absolutely perfectly in the room. It is an early 19th-century item that is in high demand now and that you would find hard to purchase these days. While I was sitting there eating, I was wondering the story behind this table, and thinking how many people over the last 200 years might have sat around it. All the chairs around the table are original school chairs and were comfortable to sit at. This room holds a maximum of 12 people, and I found it was just the right size for my party. When I booked the room, I asked if I could bring flower arrangements and this was no problem, and they fitted really well in the room. Using 3 flower displays I used them on the table and around the Boardroom.
All around Tamper, there are plants and creative displays of them, whether they are hanging as a visual display over one of the tables, or as terrariums in the Boardroom. I talked about how I love the idea of using street art in interiors back in October when I covered a post on Kid Acne and the Sheffield street art scene. So you can imagine I was thrilled to see the mural Natalie had asked Faunagraphic to paint. The first mural had been on the walls since the opening, but then at the start of this year, Sarah of Faunagraphic came back and created a new wall. Speaking to Natalie about it, she said that as soon as she started work on the interiors for the building back in 2013 she knew she wanted a New Zealand Fauna Mural, and Sarah just fitted in with all the criteria. Sarah focusing on painting birds gives a bright, colourful, and playful look to the busy cafe area.
The new wall mural has lots of green in it, which is the Pantone colour of the year, and I love how it compliments the orange colour of the exposed brickwork that surrounds it. This kind of mural could be done on a smaller scale and would look beautiful in a home, and so I like the fact that Natalie has created a trend that hopefully, people could see using this style in their Living Room, Dining Room, Or Bedroom.
Meeting Natalie for the first time, I realised what a great team that Nat and Jon make, and that they have a great balance. The reason why the cafe is such a success is because it’s the whole focus that works, the interiors are right and the food and the coffee are right, which makes it such a lovely experience to visit there.
One of the things I wanted was to have a small cake that we could share with our family. Having followed Rachel from Kelham Cakery for a few months, I knew I liked the look of her cakes. Rachel set up Kelham Cakery at the end of October 2016. Working full time as an Architectural Assistant for 10 years, Rachel spends her spare time loving making cakes. Living on Kelham Island for 4 years, Rachel has seen the area develop more and more, and is excited to offer her cake business and see it grow in such an inspiring place. Rachel is so busy in the day, so loves using her business as a therapeutic way to relax from her day job. Having spent a lot of time growing up cooking and baking, this comes so easy to Rachel as a creative thing to do.
The cake I ordered was a White Chocolate and Rasberry cake. Having had white flowers on my wedding day, using them as a feature for the cake sounded lovely. Rachel created the perfect cake that I wanted, In fact every time I look at a picture of it, a tear comes to my eye, because it was just amazing. A white soft icing, that had gold touches around the cake, and white roses sat on the top of it. I would recommend Rachel a hundred times over because she has such a creative and contemporary edge, but also the cake itself tasted amazing, and sometimes it genuinely is hard to get both of these things right. You can contact Rachel through Instagram, or email her at email@example.com
You can visit Tamper on their website. You can book and hire out the boardroom for occasions and meetings, and if you are serious about your love of coffee you can even attend one of their coffee tasting sessions all available on the website too.