'I was never totally comfortable with a fine dining restaurant'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Has Nathan Outlaw set the course for change in the hospitality industry?

The Two Michelin-starred chef, known up and down the country for his outstanding fish cookery, recently upended his restaurant concept to relaunch under a new name and ethos.

"I was never totally comfortable with a fine dining restaurant," the chef told London National paper, i. 

To win two stars, he added, was "brilliant" and "a great achievement" for his team, but despite this, "the best fish served simply is what I love most. I’ve wanted to make this change for a while.”

'For me you can have the simplest, most affordable food and it can be just as good as anywhere'

As the industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, the chef said that he thinks diners' enthusiasm for eating expensive meals out has waivered, and that harder months are yet to come for the industry.

For that reason, he said: “I think a lot of people are going to go that way, to scale back.” 

The chef said he is glad to have made the change in that it makes his food more accessible than when all they did was a set menu, costing £140 just for the food. 

"We used luxury ingredients and the prices were set. We were bound to one formula. Now, we react to the sea. If it’s rough and boats can’t go out, prices might go up a bit. But we’re more flexible, so there’ll always be dishes that are accessible."

“There’ll still be a degree of expectation," he added, and "we’re still focused on quality produce and quality cooking. But I’d much rather be feeding people from all walks of life, rather than doing elitist fine dining.”

“I admire fine dining restaurants. They can be fantastic. But for me you can have the simplest, most affordable food and it can be just as good as anywhere.

"It’s also a case of sustainability," adding that "fine dining can be wasteful.”

The chef also remarked that despite the restaurant's new lower price point, turns on tables mean that they have doubled their number of diners, and thus are bringing in the same amount of money. 

“It’s early days,” he said. “But I do think this is a good way to go considering everything that’s going on."

Have you changed the way you operate your restaurant since the beggining of the pandemic? Have the changes been viable so far? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below!

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 2nd September 2020

'I was never totally comfortable with a fine dining restaurant'