Tony Fleming

Tony Fleming

Tony Fleming

Tony Fleming built a reputation off sophisticated fish and seafood dishes at Angler, but now he's showing the full extent of his armoury at legendary restaurant Le Pont de La Tour, where he cooks classical, comforting food to the highest standards.

As a young chef, Tony Fleming was most influenced by French classicists like Nico Ladenis, Pierre Koffmann and Anton Mosimann, and that early influence has guided his career ever since through some of London’s most prestigious locations. Tony worked under Richard Neat at the Oxo Tower and Marco Pierre White at Criterion and the three-Michelin-starred Oak Room, before taking the role of executive chef at Angler – a fish and seafood-themed restaurant on the top floor of Moorgate’s South Place Hotel.

After just a year in charge, Tony won the restaurant its first Michelin star, a day of double celebration for the Cambridge-born chef as it was also his daughter’s tenth birthday. Tony remained at Angler for the next four years, during which time the restaurant went from strength to strength, retaining its Michelin star and establishing itself as one of the finest restaurants in the City of London.

By the summer of 2016, Tony felt it was time to move onto a new challenge. 'We'd taken the restaurant about as far as we could,' he explains. 'It was time for someone new to take the reins.' Despite offers from multiple places, it was a new hotel project in central London – L'Oscar – that grabbed his attention. Chances to build a restaurant from the ground up don't come along very often, and it was a dream project for Tony. ‘I was the third person employed,’ he explains, ‘so I was here right from the beginning. I was involved in the layout of the restaurant and the kitchens, the glassware, crockery, silverware, uniforms – all of it. I even chose some of the booze! I literally touched a bit of everything, which was nice.’ He stayed there for the next three years, before leaving L'Oscar to breathe new life into D&D London's Le Pont de La Tour.

While less experienced chefs can be prone to over-complicating and over-garnishing dishes, Tony’s own style is remarkably restrained and uncluttered. Prime ingredients are showcased in all their natural glory; Tony takes time to develop relationships with his suppliers, and it shows. On the menu at The Baptist Grill – the main restaurant at L'Oscar – Tony once again showed a deft touch with fish and seafood, alongside a range of clever vegetarian and meat dishes.

A straight-talking and lively character, Tony still believes it is of prime importance that a chef’s career is built on solid classical technique and regimented precision, but he is not inclined to take food too seriously either. 'Eating should be all about pleasure,' he says, 'and if you take the pleasure out of it there's no point doing it.' He stands staunchly against tasting menus for this reason – 'I just find the whole thing a bit over-contrived and not a pleasurable experience,' he explains.

As for his own enjoyment, Tony remains a chef's chef to the core, and is still at his happiest behind the stove. 'I like being with the team, by the stove, with the ingredients, doing the dishes, creating and doing the service,' he says. 'That's where the fun is. It's like, 'Why would I let someone else do that?' That's still the best part of my day, and the thing that will always take precedence over anything else, I think.'

At the beginning of 2020, Tony left L'Oscar to return to D&D London, ending his three-year stint at the hotel. Now at Le Pont de La Tour – a renowned restaurant with thirty years of history – he is reinvigorating the classical dishes that made it famous with his huge amount of experience.