The Cardiff Bay salon owner is delivering a service experience unlike any other, illustrating his appetite for growth.

Ken Picton headshot

Ever since a trip to the legendary Dean & DeLuca in New York nearly 20 years ago, Ken Picton has dreamed of setting up a similarly delicious deli in his hometown of Cardiff.

“I’m a bit obsessed with delis,” he grins. “I travel around the world with work, and I find myself in delis looking at exquisite products.” Negotiations about additional space around his salon in the city’s Mermaid Quay had repeatedly stalled. Then when Covid hit, it was time to batten down the hatches and keep the lights on.

“We were hit hard, everyone had a tough time. We only survived because we were cash-rich, debt-free and thanks to furlough payments,” he sighs. “When we came out of it, that first year I lost revenue of just under a million pounds, and that hurt. I also lost people – seven pregnancies in the Covid year and no-one coming back, people going freelance. It was just survival really.”

But it’s a new era now, as with the landlord won over by Ken’s high-end, quality deli concept, he was given the all-clear to take on the site he’d had his eye on, giving him the entire fascia of the

corner of Mermaid Quay. Work started in March 2023; 19 tonnes of rubble and £400,000 later, Picton & Co Delicatessen – “the deli down the Bay” – is a sumptuous reality.

Ken Picton Deli

He’s worked closely on the design and branding to ensure a clear synergy with his salon, a shining star of Cardiff Bay for years. “The original idea started as a store, but then when I looked at the numbers and worked on the business model, I realised that it had to have service to bring it to life. We had to turn it into more experience-led retail,” he explains. “I want to stay true to it as an expansion of the salon. It makes the salon unique in a special way. I know other salons have added things, and we’ve always had a comprehensive refreshments menu – we had a chef working in here until we ran out of space, and I started that 18 years ago. But this is on steroids! Full dinner and brunch menus, beautiful grab-and-go offerings – it elevates the salon into a different category. And in the deli there’s a sign above the door and you can go into the salon, so it’s opening up to clients we never had.”

Dylan Bradshaw salon retail

Coffee bar

Dylan bradshaw salon backwash

Wine cave

The concept of the deli itself is ‘we sell what we serve, and we serve what we sell’. Alongside the impressive wine cave are fresh bakery items, cheeses, meats and Picton blends of tea and coffee, locally sourced. Cocktails are next level (you can add chocolate bon bons that pair with each one), all blended by one of the globe’s top mixologists. Ken hasn’t left quality or service to chance; everything has been meticulously planned and chosen to deliver the right vibe, down to the branded ice cubes. Even the Jancis Robinson glasses that wine is served in can be purchased. “We can now share a full offering to salon clients with a wine list by the glass… and actually charge now rather than giving it away!” he laughs.

Food is made fresh in-house, even down to the cultured butter and marmalade. There’s a walk-in only dinner service for 30 covers (the deli was full after just 30 minutes on the first night), utilising both the large open grill central to the space and the Big Green Egg barbecue (which is also available to buy, of course). The plan is to add outdoor seating so that chefs can grill on the Big Green Egg in the summer, a great way to showcase the product AND the food you can buy.

Dylan Bradshaw salon

Delicatessen cheeses

Dylan bradshaw seating pods


The reaction from salon clients to the soft launch has been “amazing”, says Ken. “The fit out is unique and bespoke. And it was a pretty hefty cost, so we want to see a return. But they’re just blown away with it. They’re all excited because my clients and my team have been talking about the deli for a year!”

The plan now is to “really up the ante” on the retail, pushing the local produce and transforming into a true destination store. Then the next phase will be a refit of the salon’s downstairs space, to allow the two businesses to be open all day together. While eyes might be focused on the new deli, the salon is enjoying a fresh boom. “The team I’ve got, which stuck together after Covid, has been outstanding. And now revenue is growing – we’re up 14 per cent since October. And we took the same in March as we did in December. The salon is on the up again.”

Indeed, Ken is keen to get back on the salon floor, as cracked ribs have meant he’s been unable to see clients for the weeks the deli was launching. “I need to come back and do the stuff I’m good at,” he jokes. “I can’t poach eggs. But I can eat them…”