The Fold opened in July 2020, taking over a high-street space that was once a cafe. It's a family affair. Owner Travin De Hoedt (who’s also head pastry chef at Franca Brasserie), his fianceé Saaya Takahashi (currently pastry chef de partie at Sixpenny) and his brother Jason De Hoedt (pastry chef at Franca Brasserie) oversee the cakes and sweets, mum Dilki De Hoedt manages front of house, and dad Augi De Hoedt is the head chef.
When planning the opening menu Augi took a cautious approach, strategically placing hoppers and pan-fried milk rice alongside more familiar cafe classics such as avocado toast and bacon-and-egg rolls. The feedback was good. They’ve since launched a full Sri Lankan menu featuring four types of sambols, roti, hoppers and plenty of curries.
If delectable Sri Lankan food in the middle of Dulwich Hill is The Fold’s first pleasant surprise, the pastry cabinet is its second. There’s carrot cake with sultanas soaked in Sri Lankan tea from Tea Craft; cardamom, nutmeg and clove-spiced love cake; and Takahashi’s speciality: the notoriously difficult-to-bake, light-as-air cotton cheesecake.
The pared-back space is decorated with woven baskets and bucolic scenes of the Sri Lankan countryside. At the entrance, floating shelves hold a collection of house-made chutneys and pickles for sale.
It’s different from anything else in Dulwich Hill, but one thing hasn’t changed: you can still get the Portuguese tart that was served here back when the site was home to Fernandes Patisserie (it closed a few years ago). Each time the venue changes hands, the recipe for the scorched golden-brown tart is passed down.