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35 St James's Pl
St. James's

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The Chef

Nigel Mendham

Nigel Mendham has been cooking since he was a child, inspired by the unpretentious, but tasty, dishes his Mum made at home: “What my mum would cook, simple stuff. Salted belly of pork and that sort of thing, just cooked for ages and it fell off the bone. And you just pick it off with a fork, chuck potatoes in . . . Well it’s really simple stuff, like shepherd’s pie, that sort of stuff. I used to get involved, play around. Then it moved on to having a little dabble at Christmas lunches for the family, like 8-10 people and it just started moving on from there.” Summers spent clam-picking and crabbing and the resulting experience of cooking this fresh bounty also left their mark.

His first experience of the hospitality industry was working as a teenager in a Norfolk pub, running food from the kitchen. When the kitchen became short-staffed, he went in to help cook. He tells The Arbuturian website: “I never ran food again.” City and Guilds came next – “you had to be in college all the time, no messing”, he told us – followed by years spent training in restaurants around the country, staying long enough in each job to really learn the restaurant and the role: “All my head chefs have always given me something to get where I am now”, he told us. After leaving Norfolk, he spent two years working at The Randolph Hotel in Oxford where he worked his way up from commis chef to chef de partie, followed by a sous chef role at Stamford Park and a senior sous chef job at South Lodge Country Hotel in Horsham.