Tom Kerridge and his new Chelsea pub

Tom Kerridge and his new Chelsea pub

The chef tells us about his take on the classic boozer…

Top chef Tom Kerridge has elevated the traditional British pub to a whole new level – first with the Hand & Flowers in Marlow almost 20 years ago, which has gone on to win two Michelin stars, and then his other acclaimed Marlow pubs: The Butcher’s Tap & Grill and one Michelin starred The Coach.

And, having been drawn by a stunning building in south west London, he’s aiming to give a community boozer a new lease of life with The Butcher’s Tap & Grill, Chelsea.

What excites you the most about the new opening?

Any opening is a thrill, there is so much planning and behind the scenes stuff that goes on that when you finally open you almost forget that that is when all the work starts! To open in Chelsea is a bit of a dream though, it’s a fantastic location with lots of locals, residents, businesses that we hope will pop in and become familiar faces.

Why did you choose Chelsea?

In truth it was the building. It’s beautiful. A two-storey Victorian property where we will serve the best premium cuts of British meat we can find from our trusted suppliers, alongside burgers and hotdogs, a small cocktail list and some cracking beers, ales and wine. We also wanted a pub that could be at the heart of the local community and I think this has the capacity to be that place where people can come together, like pubs used to be.

Tell us about the ethos…

I want The Butcher’s Tap & Grill to be a pub for everyone. For the person that wants a quiet pint at the end of a long day in peace. The person that wants a burger with a mate for lunch. The person that wants a drink and to see a football game on the screens with or without their dog. The person that wants a beautifully cooked côte de boeuf  with a glass of red. Community pubs are a dying breed, and I want to create that space where people can feel they can just pop in for one, to feel connected to other people, old or young, it doesn’t matter. A place where you can chat to the bar staff and feel welcome and most importantly a place where, when you leave, you think, that was rather nice.

It’s an incredible menu for meat-lovers – where do you get your meat from?

We are using the same suppliers as those we use at The Hand & Flowers and at The Coach. We have great relationships with our suppliers, some of which we have had for over a decade. We work with HG Walter, Dovecote Park and Blythburgh Pork amongst others and we trust them to ensure we get only the very best.

Clearly you have been a trailblazer in what you have achieved with what a pub can be – why are they so special to you?

Pubs have been my whole life really. They are magical spaces and it’s heart-breaking to see some of them closing at such a fast rate. We need to protect them; they support the local community in more ways than I think people can imagine. They create memories, friendships and experiences that last a lifetime. Walking into your local pub should almost feel like coming home, where you know you will be looked after, there is something really quite special about that.

Pubs generally have had such a dreadful time – what do you think would be helpful for the industry?

Where do I start with this one! Putting the challenges of Covid and Brexit to one side, the Government really should be doing more to help hospitality. The rate of closures in the sector is unprecedented and there are measure that the government can do to ease the pressure. A reduction in business rates would go a long way, but ultimately, I think the mindset needs to change when it comes to hospitality. We need a Minister for Hospitality in Government who can strategically steer a way forward.

We’re looking forward to your Pub in the Park festivals again this year…

Yes, Pub in the Park is back and as always it’s looking like a cracking series of events. We’ve got some great bands lined up already including Busted, Example, Paloma Faith, and the chef line up is equally tasty. It’s such a fun filled few days, really chilled and laid-back, I always look forward to it.

With your new recipe book Pub Kitchen out, tell us one recipe we should all cook this winter…

My Mini Pork Sausage Rolls with Nduja are delicious. They are really easy to make, and are great little snacks on the go or if you are having friends over they make a great party food option too. The nduja gives them a spicy kick and they are so tasty you don’t even need a dip.

What’s next for you?
I have a few exciting things up my sleeve for 2024, but in general I want to focus on the businesses. Incredibly The Hand & Flowers turns 20 in 2025, and although that’s still some time away I want to celebrate that milestone properly so we will start planning that soon.