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The Naked Democracy of the Swimming Pool - Francklin Evagle

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

With his big hair (sometimes protected in a bag) and incredible athleticism, Francklin Evagle is a striking figure at the Lido. Originally from the Baka rainforest in Cameroon, Fevagle (as he is known) has been in London for 15 years and five years ago set up the wonderful Katakata restaurant in Brixton and Maloko in Camberwell.

I’m an early riser and am up at 5.30am every morning. I’ll check emails, eat a banana, drink a glass of water and jog from my home in Champion Hill to the Lido. I like to be there when it opens at 6.30am. My daily routine is very similar. I like to run for about an hour and then a lot of stretching. I’ll then treat myself to some time in the spa, shower and rub my body with some essential oils. I love aromatherapy and am currently using cinnamon and sage . I need this, it puts me in a positive frame of mind! The Lido is a healing place for me and sets me up to face the day.

If I had one wish it would be for the people who own the Lido to understand how special it is – the people who come here are amazing and I mean it with my heart when I say it is healing place. I’ll walk through Brockwell Park to my restaurant on Brixton Hill. It’s called Katakata which means never give up in the face of difficulty. I’ve owned it for five years and took it over from when it sold second hand fridges. It’s taken me pretty much all that time to clear all the junk from the garden and I never gave up! We now have a beautiful space, the local GP surgery use it as a community garden for people with long term illnesses – we grow plants, herbs, flowers. Morley College come here as well to practice holistic therapies and we have space for yoga in the summer. I’m ready for a coffee when I arrive and I’ll make a flat white. I’ll also have a spirulina and ginger shot at some point to give me an extra boost. The food is all vegetarian and vegan. Although from the rainforest in Cameroon I’m inspired by everything around me. The décor has a vibrant Caribbean feel, we serve galettes, crepes and juices. All our ingredients are premium, fresh and as local as possible. You'll always hear music – I’ve been inspired recently by 60s music from Pakistan and Afghanistan and am currently listening to the soundtrack to the Frida Kahlo film.

I also opened another restaurant - Maloko in Camberwell so I’m busy! I started off in catering by buying a Routemaster bus when they were decommissioned and took it round all the music festivals. When I’m not working I like to check out the scene around Brick Lane, see what’s playing at Rich Mix or if local I like Hootannany or the Levels in Peckham. To end the prefect day I’ll have a pint of Brixton Pear ale to and then an early night.

The interview was conducted before the COVID-19 crisis and we are especially aware how hard the hospitality sector has been hit. We hope soon we all be able to make a big effort to support such a fantastic local restaurant as Katakata….

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