Revelations: Nick Balfe, chef-patron of Salon, Brixton, London

19 January 2018 by
Revelations: Nick Balfe, chef-patron of Salon, Brixton, London

What was your best subject at school?

What was your first job?
After the obligatory paper round, my first job was washing dishes at Pinocchio's in Harrogate, aged 15. It was a 300-cover behemoth of a restaurant owned by my best mate's dad. Working there was a rite of passage among my friendship group - members of the gang I worked with back then are still my best mates to this day

What is your favourite drink?
It depends on context. If we're talking alcohol, nothing beats a negroni at the end of a busy Saturday night service

Which ingredient do you hate the most?
I'm not a big fan of beetroot. I had it on my Christmas menu a few years back and I prepped so much that it really put me off

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? If so, why?
I'd never, ever use eggs from battery hens, for obvious reasons…

What's your favourite hotel? I'm more of an Airbnb type, really What do you normally have for breakfast?
I'm really bad for skipping breakfast… I very often just have a black americano and munch on my mise en place until we break for staff meal at around 11.30am

What is your favourite food/cuisine?
I really love a good Vietnamese pho soup. They're so fresh, aromatic and cleansing. I'm also a massive fan of lasagne - probably my death row meal!

Which is your favourite restaurant?
That's a toughie. The Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch is pretty special, especially on a sunny summer afternoon. I also love Lyle's in London - the flavours are so clean and precise. And anyone who knows me well will have heard me bang on about RelÁ¦ in Copenhagen - their whole ethos is so inspiring and the food is mindblowingly tasty

What do you do to relax?
I've been a member of a boxing club, Afewee Brixton, for about a year. It started as a way to keep fit, but now I'm completely addicted. It's amazing how the fear of getting punched in the face can make you forget whatever other problems you might have

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