James Lowe apre Lyle’s nel cuore di Shoreditch

Stobbe_2014_6_21_117_Lyles_London_10A4195James Lowe ha aperto pochi mesi fa il suo nuovo locale a Londra. Si chiama Lyle’s ed è nel cuore di Shoreditch, di quel quartiere così hipster e trendy che a me piace tanto. E non chiedetemi perché, ma io qui mi sento a casa.

Avevo letto della nuova apertura già in Italia, prima della mia partenza verso il Regno Unito, ma è stata Gaia Enria di Burro & Salvia a ricordarmi sul posto che la tavola di Lowe era un’esperienza gastronomica assolutamente da non perdere. Insomma: detto, fatto. Nel giro di un paio di giorni dal mio arrivo a Londra ero seduta da Lyle’s (in ottima compagnia) per una delle cene più interessanti degli ultimi tempi. James ha 34 anni, una grande esperienza sul campo che l’ha visto collaborare, tra gli altri, nella squadra del St John di Fergus Henderson e prendere parte al Young Turks Collective, gruppo di giovani chef che ha fatto parlare molto la critica londinese.

Oggi da Lyle’s lavorano 16 persone, un team affiatato per un luogo che ha fatto di una elegante semplicità il suo biglietto da visita. Nel locale, come sulla tavola. E questo è anche il modo di presentarsi dello chef, timido e riservato, ma deciso e diretto nella vita come in cucina. Basta parlargli alcuni minuti e dialogare sul suo lavoro e sui motivi delle sue scelte per capirlo. James Lowe ha la stoffa del numero 1 e Lyle’s non è che l’inizio. Il menù qui (a cena) è fisso e cambia tutti i giorni, a seconda dell’offerta del mercato e dell’estro creativo della cucina. Il concetto di James è semplice: guidare i clienti in un’esperienza gustativa diversa, che forse da soli non sceglierebbero mai. Perché a tavola bisogna osare, nel senso che è bello scoprire ed è stimolante assaporare portate che non si conoscono, magari non così vicine alla propria tradizione culinaria o semplicemente ai propri gusti personali. E così da Lyle’s bisogna lasciarsi condurre in una degustazione piacevole e sorprendente, rilassarsi e attendere con curiosa aspettativa il piatto che verrà servito dopo.

 

L’attenzione in sala è ai massimi livelli: il servizio perfetto, l’accoglienza impeccabile. La cucina a vista regala al locale ampio e luminoso l’atmosfera giusta per vivere un’esperienza culinaria a 360 gradi, provata con tutti i sensi. Il mio menù era composto da otto portate, alcune delle quali devo confessarlo, proprio per i miei gusti personali, potendo non avrei scelto: Anchovy on Toast; Asparagus & Walnut Mayonnaise; Blood Cake, Damson & Chicory; Nettle Soup, Cured Pig’s Cheek & Pheasant Egg; Lamb’s Sweetbread, Ramson & Lettuce; Dover Sole, Jersey Royals & Seaweed; Baked Riseley & Chegworth Leaves; Yoghurt, Loganberry & Spelt Cake. Ma è stato sensazionale anche mettermi alla prova: la curiosità ha vinto, James ha vinto.

 

Questo slideshow richiede JavaScript.

Da Lyle’s tutto è rigorosamente preparato in casa, fresco, sul momento. Anche il pane e il burro sono homemade, mentre dalla cucina, dotata di un forno a legna e di una griglia a carbone, escono piatti britannici, semplici, ma creativi e per nulla scontati. La ricerca delle materie prime è fondamentale, come le contaminazioni. I modelli di Lowe sono Fergus Henderson e Heston Blumenthal, le cucine che ama di più quella giapponese e quella spagnola, ma tutto, sempre riporta alla Gran Bretagna, alla sua tradizione e alla scelta di prodotti locali assolutamente (con)vincenti.

Le foto del locale e di James Lowe sono di (c) Thorsten Stobbe

________________________________________________________________________________________

Flag_UK
 English Interview to James Lowe, chef of Lyle’s
How was born the idea of Lyle’s and when? I always wanted to open a restaurant, the reason I started cooking was to open my own place one day. At Lyle’s we try not to mess around with the food so much, and focus on getting the best ingredients possible. We do that by speaking to our suppliers, and keeping a very close eye on what’s available from the farmers and fishermen I use.
Why the choice of a set menu? How do you choose the daily menu? Are there some dishes that never fail?
The idea of a set menu comes from my love of cooking for friends, and allowing people to relax in the restaurant. It allows me to take care of them for the evening. It also means that we get to put things on the menu that guests might have not necessarily had before, maybe something they might not have even ordered, but because they have no choice they have to eat it and that hopefully makes it more memorable for them.
Why did you choose to open in Shoreditch? I’ve lived and worked in the area for the past 8 years so I feel like I’m at home here. It’s a good place to be.
What is the dish that could be considered your signature? At the moment it’s Peas & Ticklemore. British peas, wild peas and Ticklemore (a goat’s cheese) are all at their best right now so it makes sense to be using them together.
How would you define your way to cook? I like to describe my cooking style as ‘common sense’, pared back and British. It’s influenced by food cultures from all over the world, but I apply a British sensibility to it.
Is your way of cooking influenced from other countries? Which one? I got really excited about food after going to Japan and Spain, but I tend to borrow specific cooking techniques from all over the world, then taking it back home through historical British references.
Stobbe_2014_6_21_117_Lyles_London_10A4222
Talking with James
What were the most important moments of your career?  It was meals at St john and Fat Duck, that happened within a few days of each other, that initially got me into cooking, and made me think that I wanted to do this as a career. After that, I think that my time as head chef at St John Bread & Wine allowed me the time to find and build relationships with some fantastic suppliers that I still use today.
What did it mean to be part of the Young Turks Collective? Young Turks gave us a chance to do our own thing, outside of the restaurants we worked in. It also meant we got to draw attention to British food, I was so tired of people from overseas telling me that British food would never be able to compete because “your ingredients aren’t good enough”, it’s nonsense and I’m glad people are interested in what’s happening in London. We were able to test menu formats and ideas that didn’t really exist in restaurants in London, to see what was possible. It was a great thing to have done, it enabled me to travel to a few different countries to work and experience their food culture.
Where comes from your passion for cooking? I absolutely love restaurants, and the experience of eating out. Perhaps I love restaurants more than cooking, but it goes hand in hand!
I read that the restaurant’s name is a reference to your family. How important is this figure in your life? 
Lyle is my grandmother’s name, she died a year before the restaurant opened and part of my investment for the restaurant came from her. I think the name lends a sense of permanence and independence. My family have been incredibly important and supportive throughout the opening, I’m very lucky to have that.
In your professional development you have had a teacher or a chef to which you have always looked at? 
Both Fergus Henderson and Heston Blumenthal have always been very influential to me.
How do you do the selection of the ingredients used at Lyle’s?
I try to stay in contact with my suppliers as much as possible so I can to find out what’s the best produce available. I also try to find things that other people aren’t necessarily cooking with and using. There are so many possibilities with dishes and produce, I find it slightly silly sometimes how everyone ends up cooking the same things. You have to try and keep your eyes open and see what’s happening outside of your city, keep reading and thinking about all possibilities.
What do you think about italian cuisine? You told me you like Turin: did you also tried our food? 
I love Italian food because of its simplicity, and its reliance on good produce. There are some dishes we do that I would say are ‘Italian in spirit’!
Pics of Lyle’s and of James Lowe are takend by (c) Thorsten Stobbe
Annunci

Rispondi

Inserisci i tuoi dati qui sotto o clicca su un'icona per effettuare l'accesso:

Logo WordPress.com

Stai commentando usando il tuo account WordPress.com. Chiudi sessione / Modifica )

Foto Twitter

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Twitter. Chiudi sessione / Modifica )

Foto di Facebook

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Facebook. Chiudi sessione / Modifica )

Google+ photo

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Google+. Chiudi sessione / Modifica )

Connessione a %s...