Alors que Londres traverse une intense crise du logement (prix des loyers exorbitants, manque de logements), un bar à céréales vendant des bols de céréales à plus de 6 euros a ouvert ses portes au cœur de l’un des quartiers les plus touchés par cette crise. Une ouverture qui a alors fait perdre aux anglais leur flegme habituel puisqu’ils ont vandalisé la vitrine de cette enseigne.
Living in London, the capital city of England, has become so difficult that citizens have to pay over half their wages in rents. London is the most expensive city for accommodation. For example, renting a studio apartment costs on average £1000. These prices are not going to stop rising. This is due to the city’s policies. In fact, the authorities refuse to build enough housing. So, if you want to live in your own flat in London, it is more expensive than leaving in a luxury hotel. This idea seems completely unbelievable but it is true, particularly in Shoreditch, in the east of London. Thus, some Londoners decided to react when a Cereal Bar, the “Cereal killer bar”, opened. They considered this establishment as a symbol of the “bohemian style” and they demonstrated against it. It was unthinkable for them to see that bowls of cereals were sold 4 pounds each, when some Londoners can’t find accommodation.
Located on Brick Lane since December 10th, 2014, in the popular district of Shoreditch in East London, the Cereal Killer Cafe is the first British restaurant specialized in cereals. Owned by the twins Alan and Gary Keery, two « hipsters » from Belfast, this atypical place offers more than 120 varieties of cereals from the whole world, from the famous American Frosties to rarer products such as Milbo Choco from Israel. Thanks to this new concept, cereal lovers are taken back to their childhood in a vintage atmosphere of the 1980s-1990s. The price ranges between £2.5 and £4.4 for a bowl of cereals (£3.5 and £6 for extra toppings). Many Londoners think that these prices are much too high.
Even if the idea is innovative, it does not win unanimous support. Many people see the Cereal Killer Cafe as the symbol of the gentrification of the district. Its excessive prices had been a subject for debate during its opening: the Keery brothers had been the targets of a journalist of Channel 4 News who accused them of being « out-of-touch hipsters ». On September 26th, 2015, the business was attacked during an anti-gentrification demonstration organized by anarchists of Class War. Several hundred demonstrators took part in the « Fuck Parade » to fight against the expansion of the hipster phenomenon judged inappropriate in a district where 49% of the children live under the poverty line according to The Guardian. A video of the event shows demonstrators wearing pigs’ masks, shaking fire torches, and throwing painting and cereals at the showcase of the Cereal Killer Cafe.
The twins thus became the « most hated men of London » according to one of the headlines of the Evening Standard. Nevertheless, they do not understand why demonstrators targeted them, their purpose being to share a new concept and their taste for cereals. According to them, the state and large companies are the ones responsible for this gentrification. Gary says in an interview for the Evening Standard: « We have been dragged into a debate we don’t know much about. We are trying to educate ourselves now. But when you do a business plan you don’t think ”What will people be able to afford in the area ?” We did it for our customers – people who love cereals. »
It is true that opening a Cereal bar in a district like Shoreditch is not the most appropriate project when so many Londoners are faced with difficulties to find accommodation. But the concept of the “Cereal Bar” can be really interesting, if rethought, to discover cultural and culinary habits.
HULIN Léna, LIOTARD Eline & SEILER Arthur
photo : frères Alan et Gary Keery, créateurs du Cereal Killer Cafe