Chef Ruth Hansom speaks to The Caterer about the imminent opening of her restaurant, the Princess of Shoreditch, in just one week's time.
Opening on 9 September, the east London pub is owned by Barry Weller, operating partner of the Albion Pub in Islington and chairman of Burman Hospitality. The site has undergone an extensive refurbishment, with sanded floor, huge arch windows and a fireplace upstairs.
The 36-cover upstairs area will become a fine dining restaurant led by head chef Hansom and her team, who have followed her from Luton Hoo and, more recently, Pomona's. Meanwhile, a bar menu will be offered downstairs, with a focus on homemade charcuterie, produced from whole animals including Iron Age pigs and mutton.
Hansom said: "I've produced lots of charcuterie during lockdown and I love playing around with the flavours. At the Princess of Shoreditch, we will take whole animals and break them down and use them across both restaurants."
The upstairs restaurant will serve snacks and starters such as Surrey Docks courgette flower with goats' cheese and honey; crab apple dressed Brixham white crab, Granny Smith and kohlrabi; and Rhug Estate venison haunch tartare, mustard seed, fennel and nasturtium.
Mains will showcase end of season wild sea trout, beetroot, samphire, orange; and Swaledale lamb rump with summer squash, juniper and mint, while desserts will include hedgerow berry soufflé with elderflower, and a garden ginger set custard with gooseberry, Yorkshire rhubarb and sorrel. Hansom intends to add a tasting menu in the future.
The bar menu will provide dishes such as whole artichoke with lemon and garlic, Ewes Farm black pudding scotch egg and the restaurant-made Princess Pastrami.
Keeping to her ethos of using seasonal British ingredients, Hansom aims to change the menu every five to six weeks, working with suppliers like meat specialist Udale.
John Boyer, who worked with Hansom at Luton Hoo, will take the role of restaurant manager, alongside Bradley Young as general manager.
Asked if she's ready for opening, Hansom said: "I'm getting geared up now, but I'm feeling fairly relaxed being back in Shoreditch. This is where I really began my career in hospitality, even before I started my apprenticeship at Westminster Kingsway College. I worked in Shoreditch with chef Frederick Forster, part-time at the Boundary."
The Princess of Shoreditch will open Wednesday to Saturday for lunch from 12pm-3pm and dinner from 6pm-10pm. Both restaurants will also open on Sundays, including a roast service from 12pm-6pm. The venue is part of the Noble Inns Group, which also includes Smokehouse and the Pig and Butcher, both in Islington.
Hansom left Pomona's in Notting Hill in February this year, with the owner deciding to close the site. The chef joined the restaurant in April 2019 with the aim of producing high-end sharing menus. She moved from Luton Hoo hotel in Bedfordshire in June 2018, where she was head chef of the property's fine-dining Wernher restaurant. She had formerly been a demi chef de partie at the Michelin-starred Ritz London.
Hansom was the first female Young National Chef of the Year, which she won in 2016, but also came to public attention in 2018 after winning support from restaurateur Atul Kochhar for her British restaurant concept Epoch during an appearance on BBC Two's Million Pound Menu.
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