A father and daughter team have launched a new rum bar in Hanley – after selling their traditional Jamaican patties from a car boot during lockdown. Their new venue, Hamilton Bay, opened on Thursday after six months of hard work.
Steve and Paige Baker, who live in Stone, originally intended to open a Greggs-style bake shop for their spicy take on the Cornish pasty. But when they stepped inside the former Zazaz Indian restaurant on Piccadilly they decided to take the plunge and take on an even more ambitious project.
It’s the first time that Steve, aged 56, and 21-year-old Paige have run a venue like this although Steve’s parents ran the popular Sunny Island bakery in Cobridge in the 1980s. And now head chef Steve is using the same recipes perfected in the family business 40 years ago for the Hamilton Bay lamb and beef patties.
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The venue, which is open seven days a week from 11am, will also serve classic Jamaican dishes like rice and peas, jerk chicken and curried mutton. But the lamb and beef patties – which cost just £2.50 each – have already built up a following thanks to Steve’s lockdown delivery business.
Steve, who previously worked in construction, said he had ‘mithered’ his mum for the family recipe. He said: “I started out in lockdown making patties at home and then driving around Stoke-on-Trent with them in my car boot.
“I mithered my mum for the recipe and put it on Facebook for a laugh, and the orders just started coming in. At first people would order six or 12, but as it went on people were ordering as many as three dozen at a time .
“I have been helping my mum in the kitchen since I was a kid and it’s nice to be able to carry on the family legacy. She taught us how to look after ourselves and now I’m looking after other people too.
“I’m in my element now that the bar has opened. I feel like a champagne bottle that has been shaken up before the cork is popped.”
Steve and Paige plan to offer a relaxed, chilled vibe downstairs at Hamilton Bay, which is inspired by Steve’s mum’s maiden name, and they hope to open a more formal dining area upstairs within the next 12 months. They currently stock 14 different rums and will be asking customers for suggestions and recommendations to add to their collection.
There are a range of cocktails on the menu, including mojitos, daiquiris and Long Island iced tea, and you can get your caffeine fix with a special edition Hamilton Bay coffee. Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Jo Gideon was among the customers on the opening day, when she popped in to wish the new venture well.
Paige said she felt ‘blessed’ to have opened the bar in Hanley alongside her dad. She said: “We wanted to open in Hanley because the demographic was right – and also I think my dad wanted to come home to Stoke-on-Trent. We have completely refurbished the premises and here we are now after a long journey.
“I feel really excited that the day has arrived and I feel so blessed that we have been able to do this. My dad has always made these patties for family on special occasions, and I love seeing people’s reactions to them.”
MP Jo was pleased to see the business launch. She said: “It is great to see another business open in Piccadilly and our local hospitality sector continue to grow. All the businesses along Piccadilly offer something different and Hamilton Bay brings something new to the area, so I am sure it will be hugely successful.” I wish the team every success and I will certainly be back one evening to sample the food and rum.”
The taste test
I couldn’t resist trying one of Steve’s famous patties, which are made with lamb or beef and the Baker family’s secret blend of spices. I went for the lamb option, which was served without cutlery to eat ‘Jamaican-style’ with fingers. There’s a token bit of salad on the plate but the patty is the main event.
Steve told me that it was basically a ‘Jamaicanised Cornish pasty’ but I’m not sure that that description does it justice. It was way nicer than your standard Cornish pasty.
The pastry was melt-in-the-mouth delicious and lamb was spiced to perfection. It wasn’t a hot spicy – it was just extremely flavoursome. I actually let out an involuntary ‘mmmmmmmmmm’ as I ate it.
It was so tasty and it seems to me like £2.50 is a bit of a bargain. In fact, you might want to order two – I certainly would have happily had a second. And as there are only a small number of tables, you might want to book in advance.
I can absolutely see why Steve’s fame spread during lockdown. Once you’ve tried his patties, you’ll want to go back for more.
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