Tom Griffiths on his plans to launch Flank 3

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th July 2019

Chef Thomas Griffiths is set to launch the third iteration of Flank, his nose-to-tail concept which started as a pop-up in a Brighton pub three years ago.

Following on the success of his Old Spitalfields Market Hall sites, the latest permanent residency, in collaboration with Print House but entirely self-funded, will be located in Stratford, East London.

The menu will be different to the other two, however, offering meats barbecued in the authentic, no-frills, Southern US style: pit smoked over wood and served on a tray, slathered in sauce with a side of white slice. 

Expect pork butts and sticky ribs, necks, top halves of shin and connective tissue, true to the Flank modus operandi of whole animal use, pickling and fermentation.. 

The chef wants the food to be accessible, the type of food people - and chefs - want to eat. 

"Most chefs when we go out to eat, we go down to a shitty noodle house or we go and have dumplings or we go and have a big pile of meat in some back street place, we don't go to really out there restaurants," he said.  

"I want chefs coming here late at night to get the last bits of burnt ends in a bun and people to spend all day here, chowing down the barbecue, drinking beer and having fun." 

The idea is  to "take something filthy and refine it," he explained - minus the microherbs and gels, with emphasis on getting every single element perfect.

Flank 3 isn't all the chef has in the pipeline:

Next year, he will launch Flank Restaurant, which he said will be more like his original Brighton pop-up.   

"It's going back to the roots of nose-to-tail but a lot of refinement," taking a similar approach to Tom Brown at Cornerstone, only with meat, not seafood. 

The philosophy behind the food at Flank, he explained, means that "the cost saving aspect of it and increasing revenue and your GP is astronomical. Not only that, but  cooking the whole animal is  a  more sustainable approach to meat consumption.

For the chef, this is something that needs to be wrestled  from the middle-classes and into common consciousness. 

"I find it a bit hypocritical when your food is subject to the people who already know about sustainability," he said.  

"If we're going to try and be sustainable, let's try and get everyone and make something accessible with it. Why does it have to be the finer restaurants doing the sustainable thing. Why can't it just be a guy making a couple of burgers and some chicken wings?" 

Whatever the formula, it appears to be working. The chef started with "a few hundred pounds in the back of a dirty pub" just three years ago. He remembers days spent in the blistering cold on his London market stall with Drew Snaith, questioning whether to pack it all in.  

"I didn't make a penny for two years. I slept in a shitty flat with nothing, I didn't go out, I didn't have any friends, I was quite lost in it all, but you've got to keep your head down and do it." 

Though it might appear that way given the speed at which the group has grown, the idea isn't for Flank to ever become a chain.

"We're in such a difficult time with so many restaurant chains collapsing - I think chaining is the worst thing to do." 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th July 2019

Tom Griffiths on his plans to launch Flank 3