If you feel the name Cullenders is burned into your subconscious, there’s no need
for alarm. You’re not going mad; you’re merely observant.
Marc and Joelle Cullender have been synonymous with Reigate and food for the last 12 years. From their first delicatessen on Linkfield Street in 2008, to second and bigger locations in the town centre, they’re back with their latest and most ambitious concept yet.
Cullenders Parkside is a relaxed and informal restaurant based on Bell Street, directly opposite Priory Park in the former home of French bistro, La Barbe. The casual vibe is big on brunch with dishes like huevos rancheros, mahi-mahi fish tacos, breakfast burritos as well as staples such as tuna melts, scrambled eggs, the Parkside Full and homemade porridge.
In the evenings, the menu offers something a bit different with a Mediterranean bistro feel with starters including; arancini nero and deep fried polenta with truffled honey and pecorino and mains such as Zarzuela of cod, cuttlefish and mussels.
“We are very keen on supporting other fellow small businesses; our breads are all from Chalk Hills, our meat is from Robert Edwards, our house gin is a small batch gin from Batts Hill based in Redhill. We love our coffee and have sourced it from the favourite London based Monmouth Coffee. We bake and produce as much as possible in house including our own ‘house beans’ that go with our Parkside Full.
The story begins when Marc got onto Masterchef in 2006 (the year the Wahaca lady won). “Although his crepes were slated on national television, something within him told he didn’t want to be an accountant anymore,” says Joelle. Saying to each other “Let’s give up our, London-salaried jobs and start a deli” back in 2007, they moved from Highgate to Reigate and began their search for a suitable premises.
In 2008 they opened the first Cullenders Delicatessen and Food Store on Linkfield Street in Redhill (which lives on today with as Deli on the hill), then the duo added a second location in Reigate’s town centre (now the home of Lads and Dads barbers). In 2012, they consolidated those two smaller shops by relocating into one larger one, giving them enough room where their customers could eat in.
Then, after a series of events – a rent review; an offer to buy them out; finding a friend-of-a-friend to buy the old La Barbe premises and lease it back to them; then lockdown – they finally made it into the restaurant business.
Marc is totally self-taught, with an interest in cooking and food from a young age, he has been behind the menus from day one, adapting to a ‘Cullenders at Home’ offering during lockdown and now creating the daytime menu at Cullenders Parkside. With the evening menus being created and executed by Head Chef Jon Coomb, formerly of The Westerly and The Pendleton.
Both Marc and Joelle work full time within the business keeping that family run feel at the heart of it. With Marc based on site running the day to day operation, Joelle flits between working on the floor serving the customers as well as social media manager, interior designer, HR and marketing. And in the midst of all that they have two children at St John’s school. “There’s not really a spare minute of the day. It’s a passion and a dream that’s been lived out and even though it’s incredibly hard work we wouldn’t change it.”
71 Bell Street