1 Michelin Star Chefs: Nieves Barragán Mohacho, chef director, Sabor

The  Staff Canteen

Nieves Barragán Mohacho is chef director of Michelin starred Sabor in Mayfair.

Nieves Barragán Mohacho grew up in Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain. She was introduced to the importance of well-sourced and seasonal cooking from a young age.

Sabor

Sabor Restaurant corner shot long Chris Terry

35-37 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BR

Tel: 020 3319 8130

Website:  www.saborrestaurants.co.uk/

Email: [email protected]

Reservations:  For The Counter at Sabor on the ground floor, they take walk ins only on a first-come-first-served basis for groups of up to 4 guests. 

For the El Asador at Sabor - for 5 or more guests please email [email protected] or call 020 3319 8130.

Chef patron: Nieves Barragán Mohacho

Restaurant manager: José Etura Facebook: Sabor London

Twitter: @sabor_ldn

Instagram: @sabor_ldn

Biography

She learnt the basic cooking techniques and food prep to keep her busy while her mother looked after Nieves’ grandmother. Her skills developed from peeling potatoes and checking stocks and soups to cooking the family meal. Nieves uses her Basque background of strong culinary traditions to develop her own style as a professional chef.

Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Sethi family to launch Sabor wrbm large
Nieves and business partner José Etura

She worked in restaurants across Spain before joining the kitchen brigade as sous chef at Sam and Eddie Harts’ Fino in Charlotte Street in 2003.

Four years later, she took the reins as head chef. When Barrafina opened in 2008, Nieves was given both kitchens to oversee as executive head chef. Under Nieves, Barrafina was awarded a Michelin star in 2013.

Chipirones en su Tinta, Hake & alioli Chris Tery.2

Chipirones en su Tinta, Hake & alioli

Photography by Chris Terry

She had only planned to stay in the UK for 12 months during a break from studying nursery teaching. Speaking no English and working as a kitchen porter washing the dishes in a London restaurant, she had no plans to make a career out of cooking, so the fact she has just opened her own restaurant in London 20 years after she first arrived is all the more remarkable.

Sabor

After nine years, Nieves announced that she (along with business partner José Etura) would be leaving the Barrafina group to pursue opening her own restaurant. With financial backing from the Sethi family, she and José launched Sabor in Heddon Street in October 2017. Sabor received its first star in the Michelin Guide 2019.

What the guides say

Michelin Guide

Restaurant James Sommerin, Michelin star restaurants, Michelin Guide 2018

AA Restaurant Guide

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Inspired by the tapas bars of Andalucia and the seafood restaurants of Galicia, Sabor is comprised of three areas. 

Chicken Oyster Bocadillo - Sabor  - Nieves Barragan Mohacho - Chris Terry

Chicken Oyster Bocadillo

Photography by Chris Terry

The Counter and bar on the ground floor serves a selection of smaller dishes like Piquillo croquetas and Manchego cheese and Milk fed lamb sweetbreads.

El Asador is on the first floor, which serves larger, sharing dishes like Empanada Gallega and mains including suckling pig.

Sabor – meaning ‘flavour’ in Spanish – captures the regional flavours of Spain. Nieves told the Good Food Guide

‘I think the open kitchen and cooking everything in front of the customers is key.

‘It brings to London what I enjoy about the way we eat in Spain, it’s a very Spanish way of doing things. It’s also so much more fun and friendly to cook in an open kitchen.

‘I love seeing customer reactions to dishes and I learn from those reactions and conversations. I also find that the younger chefs working for us enjoy listening to the customers and watching them enjoy the food.’

Accolades

Sabor, in Mayfair, was the highest new entry in this year’s list of the UK’s top 100 restaurants, ranking at number two and Nieves also won the coveted Chefs’ Chef Of The Year award at the National Restaurant Awards 2018. 

Videos with Nieves Barragán Mohacho:

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th November 2018

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Nieves Barragán Mohacho, chef director, Sabor