How London’s New Driving Home Bloomsbury Has World Delicacies At Its Coronary heart

Born in Nigeria, time spent in Barbados and calling London his house, chef-patron Henry Omereye is ‘using excessive’ together with his signature African-Caribbean fusion delicacies. Ten years after the opening of Fitzrovia’s Driving Home Café, a enterprise with restaurateur Adam White, comes Driving Home Bloomsbury – the newest showcase for Omereye’s sun-fuelled delicacies, influenced by the chef’s international travels.

Accumulating a loyal fan-base as a result of duo’s much-loved modern all-day menus (additionally a part of the Home Café Firm is Rail Home Café, in Victoria, which opened in 2017), the brand new opening guarantees to deliver a relaxed, ‘neighbourhood’ vibe to Bloomsbury.

“My ardour is to open eating places which might make a major distinction to an space,” says White. “Driving Home Bloomsbury will comply with in these footsteps, offering the historic a part of London with a members club-like ambiance, bringing residents collectively by way of providing a broad, accessible, energetic fashionable brasserie that works throughout the day for any event.”

The restaurant is present in Bloomsbury’s The Brunswick Centre, one in all London’s most famous, and listed, Brutalist piece of structure. Interiors, by Lou Davies of Field 9 have an industrial really feel, with uncovered pipes and scrubbed wood tables, however softened with botanical and pure touches, together with hanging vegetation, green-velvet banquettes and hessian lighting. Concrete cubicles are contrasted with salvaged restored furnishings and tables which have been created by revolutionary British tradesmen utilizing repurposed stone, marble and steel.

Though initially from Nigeria, Omereye has spent lots of time in Barbados, specifically cooking at among the island’s finest eating places together with The Cliff and The Cliff Seashore (which he helped to launch). A ardour for each Caribbean and West African flavours performs out on his menus, so diners can count on dishes reminiscent of Cocoyam Mash, a twist on the dish the chef’s mom used to make for him as a toddler; Cassava Hummus and Salt Cod Fritters with selfmade Bajan Pepper Sauce.

Collectively, Omereye and Driving Home Bloomsbury’s head chef, Gerald Mirey, who has frolicked in Japan, have created a variety of latest dishes which can launch solely at Bloomsbury. Small plates embody Grilled Flatbread, Smoked Cod Roe, Tomato and Wasabi Tobiko; Earl Gray Ured Trout, Citrus Kosho & Bitter Cream and Flat Iron Steak & Comté Yakitori With Goma Dare.

Fundamental dishes embody Caraway Harissa Hen and Cassava Chips with Fennel and Cardamom Gravy; Miso Grilled Sea Bass, Nuoc Cham & Pickled Cucumber. Desserts will even see new variations of previous favourites reminiscent of Sizzling Doughnuts with Milk Jam, whereas breakfast brings Pea Fritters, Oak-Smoked Salmon and Asparagus and Inexperienced Shakshuka, Inexperienced Tomato Confit, Asparagus, Spinach, Peas and St. Ewe Egg.

The restaurant feels eclectic and various – the essence, in truth, of contemporary London at present.

Right here, solely for Forbes, Henry Omereye talks about how journey has influenced his cooking.

What’s the ethos of Driving Home Bloomsbury?

We consider in creating a spot which might function a hub to our company – notably these within the native space. We glance to create an area that fits all events – enterprise lunches, coffees with associates, dinners with household – a members’ membership with out membership. That is notably essential to us in Bloomsbury, as there’s actually nowhere else serving an identical function.

What are the signature dishes?

My private favorite – which has additionally turn out to be a little bit of a signature – are the Salt Cod Fritters. After a shift I like to sit down down with a plate of Fritters, topped with Bajan Pepper Sauce and a refreshing apple juice to drink. Different standout dishes should be our Hen Wings, the Earl Gray Cured Trout and our Miso Sea Bass.

How would you describe your delicacies?

It’s globally impressed and modern, with explicit influences from West African, Caribbean and Asian cooking. Our USP is that you would be able to’t put our menu in a field – all of our dishes are globally impressed, with the workforce inspired to make use of their very own backgrounds and inspirations to contribute to the menu.

How do you stand out in London – a metropolis that’s wealthy in revolutionary eating places?

Nowhere else provides the breadth of menu that we do – you wouldn’t dishes like ours all out there collectively elsewhere. We’re additionally not afraid to attempt new issues and cross over between cultures, which actually helps by way of standing out.

What influences have impressed your culinary journey?

The principle culinary influences from my childhood in Nigeria embody Scotch Bonnet, which was on every little thing (and may be seen all through my menus at present) and Maggi, a extremely versatile seasoning, which I exploit as an alternative of bouillon or salt, because it offers further flavour and builds an awesome profile. Other than the direct culinary influences, my childhood there positively impressed my culinary journey, because it taught me the definition of exhausting work and graft – and to all the time be good to individuals, which is essential given the catering trade is so small.

What are your favorite go-to Nigerian dishes that you just like to eat?

On a pleasant sunny day I like Pepper Soup, which is made with discarded items of meat, reminiscent of beef, tripe, goat’s liver and cow’s liver and is stuffed with pepper. I like a pleasant chilly Mighty Malt – a non-alcoholic Guinness-style drink – to go along with it. For dinner, I like Pounded Yam with Okra Soup – it’s tremendous filling and retains you glad throughout an extended shift.

You’ve additionally frolicked in Barbados, what have been the highlights of your time there – culinary or in any other case?

I learnt quite a bit from locals – how they cooked and the way they ate, but additionally how they lived. I used to be taught learn how to make Salt Cod Fritters – that are referred to as ‘fish desserts’ there – by my mother-in-law however I cherished seeing how the normal Bajan fish desserts have been made by the grannies down at Oistins, a Friday fish market. I additionally watched how they cooked conventional dishes, reminiscent of Oxtail. General, I cherished the Caribbean life-style and the way laid-back it was. You even have the flexibility to spend so much of time on the seaside – earlier than, after and even throughout work!

What have been your favorite Bajan dishes and locations to eat once you lived there?

Nothing beats the ‘Fish Fry’ at Oistins on a Friday evening, however within the week I might all the time go to one of many cafés contained in the procuring centre at Emerald Metropolis. They’re nothing fancy however you possibly can all the time discover superb issues to eat. We might go a number of occasions per week and the queue snaked out the constructing, with individuals ready for conventional dishes, reminiscent of rice n peas, oxtail, fishcakes. I’d all the time take my option to Brownes Seashore and have it with a Banks Beer. I additionally cherished popping into Bubba’s Sports activities Bar, which served one of the best BBQ rooster wings.

What have been your favorite locations to go to in Barbados and why?

Nothing beats Brownes Seashore in Barbados – I’d go along with my household and watch my youngsters swim within the ocean. Or, on a weekday, I’d head to the seaside between my shifts and after work, I’d be there having drinks with locals. I additionally cherished taking the ZR buses with their loud music and nice ambiance.

What inspiration have you ever taken from the Caribbean for the present menu at Driving Home?

Apparent inspirations in our menu may be seen within the Fritters and Bajan Pepper Sauce, however cooking in Barbados, specifically, taught me to not be afraid to attempt something. I additionally learnt some conventional recipes there – a lot of which have been impressed initially by Africa or different islands, reminiscent of Jamaica.

You’ve labored in a variety of kitchens, what chef impressed you essentially the most?

The one one that impressed me essentially the most was Marco Pierre White. After I labored for him he taught me a lot, from kitchen self-discipline to learn how to work inside a workforce. He’s a large inspiration to me – not only for his ability, but additionally how he managed the individuals round him.

How would you describe your type within the kitchen as head chef?

I might say it’s nurturing. I encourage my workforce to have enjoyable so long as the kitchen is run accurately. To encourage longevity, you possibly can’t all the time be critical. I need my workforce to get pleasure from themselves whereas they’re at work. In all places I’ve moved, I’ve all the time been fortunate sufficient to take members of my workforce with me and I believe it’s because I’m actually eager on making certain my workforce progress. My senior sous chef at Bloomsbury, as an illustration, was initially my apprentice a few years in the past and one in all our greatest cooks was initially an evening cleaner. You need to put money into somebody and construct a relationship after which that encourages their finest work. When you get pleasure from what you do, have enjoyable, work exhausting and put money into individuals, all of it falls in line.

As a chef, how essential is it that the bar providing additionally gels with what comes out of the kitchen?

It’s tremendous essential. After we work on a brand new menu, the bar workforce are all the time concerned in any respect factors – from improvement to tasting. Our bar idea is overseen by Harry Hughes, who joins us from The Ned, and can see a bar dominated by giant whiskey barrels of Negroni, Martini, Outdated Original and Rum Manhattan, aged throughout the barrels. New in-house cocktails embody the Piña Picante with Tequila, infused in-house with pineapple skins and chilli, shaken with citrus and sweetened with agave. Our design at Driving Home Bloomsbury displays our idea, with an open bar and kitchen merging into each other.

How essential are the interiors and total design of a restaurant?

One other very important half. An important restaurant will need to have an awesome ambiance and this has to return from the design, in addition to the food and drinks, in fact. The founding father of Driving Home Bloomsbury, Adam White, labored on the design with Field 9 and created a good looking house, which permits every facet of the expertise to enhance each other.