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Throwing in a high-powered, highly stressful legal career to open up your own café sounds like something you’d only read about in chick lit novels. But Kiwi Kirstin Hadley did just that.

She swapped her job as a lawyer with a big City firm to serve coffee and Afghan biscuits at a café she set up with her partner Nicolas.

Lola & Simón - named after two family pets - opened on King St, Chiswick, and is an Antipodean-style café that offers flat whites and Anzac biscuits.

Hadley, 38, says opening the café was a dream come true.

“I’m from Wellington and years and years ago a café opened there that was cool and modern, and I thought it was amazing. Ever since then I’ve wanted to have my own cafe-style business,” she says.

The couple worked hard to create a ‘café-by-day, restaurant-by-night’ atmosphere, which is already frequented by quite a few Kiwis and Australians who have discovered the spot.

“It’s amazing how word gets out,” Hadley says

But it’s partly due to the food. Hadley serves up pancakes with bacon, banana and maple syrup, chicken clubs and ‘really good steak sandwiches’. And, of course, New Zealand lamb and green-lipped mussels.

Funnily enough, Hadley finds she’s working longer hours than in her legal job. But she’s says it’s all worth it.

“There are some things about being a lawyer that I do miss,” she admits. “But being self-employed is so satisfying. This is a place we created ourselves so I don’t mind - I actually love it.”

Click here to see Lola & Simon's website, and here to 'like' them on Facebook.

This article is taken from the TNT Archives, and was first published in 2011.

Image credit: Lola & Simon/Facebook


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Meet the Kiwi who ditched her high-powered legal career and set up her own café
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