Q Tell us a little about the history and ethos of the business.
A Located in the architectural splendour of Leadenhall Market, Chamberlain’s Restaurant is an independent, family-owned operation; a natural extension of our premium seafood wholesale business, Chamberlain and Thelwell Ltd. Established at Old Billingsgate Market in 1947, there have now been three generations of the family involved in the business. Chamberlain and Thelwell have long-standing relationships with many of London’s five star hotels, exclusive clubs and renowned institutions.
Chamberlain’s Restaurant opened 11 years ago. The philosophy was – and remains – to bring the finest produce, both seafood and meat, to our restaurant customers and to harness our unique in-house sourcing knowledge and expertise. Chamberlain’s customers can be assured that whatever day of the week or time of the year they visit, they will have the opportunity to eat some of the best, freshest, predominantly British seafood, expertly created into delicious dishes by head chef Andrew Jones.
Q What is Andrew Jones’s vision for the restaurant?
A Andrew joined Chamberlain’s as head chef in November 2011, joining executive chef Matthew Marshall. Andrew has an impressive pedigree, including holding the post of premier sous chef at Claridges. Andrew is also one of only a few people to be a winner of the acclaimed Roux Scholarship, awarded to only one person a year, with previous winners including Andrew Fairlie, Sat Bains and Simon Hulstone. Andrew now wants to prove himself by establishing Chamberlain’s even more firmly on the gastronomic map. He told me the other day: “Our restaurant menu reflects the very best of what is available from around the British Coastal waters. We have staple dishes on the menu including Dover Sole and native Scottish Lobsters. We have our own lobster tanks at Billingsgate market and the lobsters are sent to me fresh daily. Ray [Steadman, co-owner, see column right] and I talk constantly about what is best on the market and I can receive a phone call at any time night or day to be informed first-hand of a catch that we would want to put on the menu – even if only for a couple of days while a particular fish is available. This ability to truly react to and reflect the very best of wild British produce on our menu is a unique element of Chamberlain’s and enables me to use my creative skills.”
Q What else makes Chamberlian’s special?
A The restaurant building itself is great as it offers flexible space on four different floors, including an atmospheric basement bar through to more formal dining and fantastic outside space for a drinks reception on the terrace. We open at mid-day, making the restaurant ideal for City-workers. People can choose from the main menu or the slightly cheaper bar menu, which features simpler, quicker to prepare dishes. We do a great line in special occasions and Christmas parties. We tend to find that once someone has held a private dinner or party with us, they will rebook the next year. It is partly down to our reputation for service, which is reflective of the family nature of the business, focussing on attention to traditional values of service and friendliness.
Q Which dishes would you say really sum up what Chamberlain’s restaurant is all about?
A Examples of main courses are wild sea bass garnished with braised ox cheeks, endive and hazelnut dressing or baked fillet of lemon sole with lobster and scallop. We also work closely with like-minded suppliers of meat and vegetables to ensure that customers are served the best seasonal game dishes and the finest meat, including Castle of Mey Selections beef from the Prince of Wales Estate. A couple of meat examples from our menu are roasted wood pigeon with baby leeks, apple salad and liquorice jus, or assiette of Welsh lamb with Wye Valley asparagus and thyme jus.
Q What about your selection of wines?
A Our wine list has evolved with the restaurant, with the variety increasing as we have moved closer to fine dining. Alessio Bascherini, our director of operations, and restaurant manager Xavier Poiget are the experts, who liase with Andrew to match the best possible wines with the food. We stock a good mix of varieites, with white grape classics, such as white Burgundy, Sancerre and Pouilly Fume and red grape Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Chateauneuf du Pape.
To book a table call 020 7648 8690 or visit chamberlainsoflondon.com