Leaving behind the Lake District, with its luscious produce and inspirational backdrop, Nigel Mendham moved to London in 2011 to take up his current role at Thirty Six, the restaurant in Mayfair’s luxurious Duke’s Hotel. Three AA rosettes followed soon after, with inspectors praising his “British cuisine based on the very best ingredients”. Quoted on The Duke’s Hotel website, he says of this:“Starting at Thirty Six was an exciting transition for me, having worked for most of my career in the countryside. However, I was determined to win back the recognition and awards base I had built up at The Samling here in London. Being awarded three AA rosettes at a restaurant that has my name on the door is a real honour.”
Although he eschews much modern cooking technology in the kitchen, preferring simple, elegant food prepared with traditional technique, the result is refined and precise. Making modern British food – “all the good things Mum used to cook”, but meticulously prepared from the very best ingredients, his food balances classic flavours and contemporary flair.
Although his food still looks stunning, when describing how his cooking has developed over the past ten years, he says he has moved away from “picture perfect” dishes to those focused more on taste. “Now I very rarely drag a purée”, he said, “not so much messing around to make it look artistic, it’s more in the flavour”.
Many of his plates feature a central ingredient prepared in multiple ways, such as his Variations of beetroot with goat’s cheese flan and celery sorbet. Other menu highlights include his Confit Pollock with cauliflower, cockles and Parmesan, or to finish, Spiced plums with Meantime Porter sabayon, ginger crumble and iced yoghurt.
Nigel Mendham sums his style up well when speaking to Grifco website: “Food trends in today’s gourmet industry are forever changing, but I very much believe that simple food done well will stand the test of time. This is one of my core values behind the excellent locally sourced British food we prepare and serve at Thirty Six.”