Agnar Sverrisson

Agnar Sverrisson

Agnar Sverrisson

Agnar Sverrisson’s modern European food combines seasonal British ingredients with Icelandic specialities, serving rustic, Nordic-inflected plates that highlight textural contrast and clean, intense flavours. With accomplished technical skills developed in some of London’s best restaurants and honed during his time as head chef at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, his dishes look deceptively simple, though they taste anything but.

Agnar Sverrisson was not a boy who dreamed of cooking – he took up his first position as a chef in 1992 'just to try to be something'. However White Heat – Marco Pierre White’s seminal book – was an early inspiration and he says reading about White’s cooking and passion 'literally changed my life'. His first head chef job came in 1998 at the Grill Room in Reykjavík, but realising that career progression as a chef meant leaving Iceland, he set off for the UK.

Still an ardent admirer of White, he ate as often as he could in both The Oak Room and Marco’s Restaurant, trying unsuccessfully for two years to gain a position under the chef. Instead he began work at Mosimann’s in Westminster, followed by a spell at Pied à Terre in Fitzrovia under Tom Aikens and a short time at Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus, under Marcus Wareing. A year living in Luxembourg followed, working as sous chef to Lea Linster – the only woman to have won the Bocuse D’or – at her eponymous restaurant.

His most significant professional training came in 2002, in his role as junior sous chef at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, working under executive head chef Gary Jones and owner Raymond Blanc. His first two years there were extremely challenging but Agnar (or 'Aggi', to his friends) rose quickly, an especially tough job in a kitchen of forty-two chefs. He was always asking questions and pushing himself, something Raymond admired. His time at Le Manoir taught him about seasonal produce, freshness and the clean, pure, precise flavours his food is famous for.

After two years at Le Manoir, Agnar was offered the head chef position – an opportunity he was reluctant to take, as he already had plans for his own restaurant firmly in mind. But he knew it would open many doors, so he accepted. As he worked on his own plans, Raymond and Gary were with him every step of the way – both became mentors, offering support, flexibility, introducing investors and even multiple revisions of his business plan.

After nearly three years of planning, Agnar opened his restaurant, Texture, in 2007. A few months later, Texture was named New Restaurant of the Year by The Independent and a Michelin star followed in 2010 as well as an impressive four rosette rating from the AA, which it held until its closure in 2020.

Agnar described the food at Texture as 'modern European with Scandinavian influences' and as the name suggests, there was a focus on 'combining and emphasising different consistencies'. The very best seasonal British produce was at the heart of his cuisine, which was more rustic and closer to nature in its unfussy presentation than the fine dining of Agnar's past. While it wasn't an Icelandic restaurant, there were subtle hints of the country's influence, with ingredients from his native land such as lamb, cod, langoustine, skyr (a cultured dairy product like yoghurt) and wild herbs sprinkled throughout the menu. Traditional Nordic techniques such as salting cod also made an appearance, but they were used with a judicious hand. The food was light and healthy, with no cream or butter used in the menu, and the flavours clean and pure. It was a huge loss to London's restaurant scene when it closed during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In 2010, Agnar opened 28º– 50º Fetter Lane in Holborn, a wine bar and restaurant that offered a programme of wine tastings, workshops and themed dinners. A second branch, 28º– 50º Marylebone Lane, followed in 2012 and a third, 28º– 50º Maddox Street, in Mayfair in 2013. The Fetter Lane and Marylebone branches has since closed, but the other remains open. Despite his role as head chef at Le Manoir, Agnar was relatively unknown until he opened Texture. Today he is renowned as a highly skilled and accomplished chef, as well as an astute and successful business owner. He now resides in his native Iceland, where he cooks at Moss Restaurant at the country's Blue Lagoon.