Openings

Eat this: Wilder, the restaurant aiming for 100% British produce

With the backing of restaurateur Sir Terence Conran, this new addition to Shoreditch will focus on sustainability, with each dish featuring a wild element and local ingredients.

14 October 2019
chefsdessertmeatprovenancerestaurant openingseafoodsustainability
  • The Gist: Taking food back to the wild and substituting imports for local goods
  • The Chef: Richard McLellan
  • Location: 2-4 Boundary Street, London E2 7DD
  • Food in 5 words: Brexit proofed sourcing and cooking
  • See more: www.wilderlondon.co.uk

How did we get here?

Chef Richard McLellan has partnered with restaurateur Sir Terence Conran to open his first solo venture in the basement of east London institution the Boundary London.

McLellan has worked in restaurants for over 20 years. His early career included positions at Michelin-starred restaurants Aubergine and Tom Aikens. He later moved on to work as a senior sous chef at two Michelin-starred Pied à Terre, before being appointed head chef in 2011 at Alyn Williams at The Westbury.

In 2015, McLellan moved on to become the head chef at modern British restaurant The Typing Room alongside Lee Westcott. McLellan also consulted on the menus for the Salt Yard Group, before founding Wilder supper clubs and hosting regular pop-ups.

His new restaurant, not surprisingly is called Wilder, and is launching this week with a keen focus on sustainability and provenance.

What’s different about it?

Each dish will include a wild element, with components from around London and other parts of the UK, many picked by the chef himself.  

The aim also is to have 100% of the restaurant’s produce sourced from the British Isles.

For example, a dish that would usually require the acidity of lemons or imported citrus fruits, will use home-made vinegar instead. Sourdough bread will be made using beremeal, an ancient grain found on the island of Orkney. In place of imported olive oil, British rapeseed oil will be used.

Other ingredients will be gathered from independent and small scale suppliers. There will be vegetables harvested from a local Clapton allotment to seasonal produce from Conran’s 145-acre Barton Court estate in Berkshire, such as brassicas and game in autumn and winter to asparagus in the spring, and freshwater trout and crayfish from the chalk streams that run through the estate.

Seafood will also be sourced from Cornish company Fish for Thought, who avoid varieties where stocks are low. Longhorn beef will come from the English Farm in Henley, with only one animal killed a week – a small herd is farmed over many acres through traditional, organic farming methods and herbal leys; a complex seed mixture of grasses, legumes and herbs, which nurtures environmentally sustainable livestock.

Wild edible plants found in Lymington by food writer and forager Susan Campbell will be on the menu, in addition to those collected by McLellan.

Launch dishes include bread cracker with carrot emulsion and carrot oil and venison, beets, elderberries and rye. There will be home-made pickles and house cured charcuterie, with Tamworth pork and pepper salami on the opening menu.

You’ve got to try...

The dish with plaice, cockles, black cabbage and gutweed, a common seaweed found on all UK shores and in many different habitats, including rock pools, sand, mud and even shells and other seaweed. Plaice has also been put on the Marine Conversation Society’s recent list of fish that are a sustainable option.

Sparkie also likes...

Meadowsweet with white chocolate and fig leaf oil. Food Spark has previously hailed the increasingly use of herbs in desserts in the UK, with the trend set to continue.

Go if...

You want to have a wild time.

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