A new London restaurant aims to attract customers concerned about the provenance of their food. The Commander, which has launched in west London, is comprised of a bistro restaurant, bar, butcher, fishmonger and florist. The aim of the venue is to ‘lose the middle man’, giving diners the knowledge that their food ‘has been prepared with care, from the farm to their fork,’ according to concept designer Michael Parker.
As well as a stylish, leather-booth-filled oyster bar and muted restaurant, The Commander has an urban version of a traditional farm shop, offering a range of produce, as well as displaying wine, fine cuts of meat from The Ginger Pig, fresh seafood from John Norris, and floral bouquets from Hayford and Rhodes.
Customers can either purchase directly from the on-site suppliers or select a choice steak or stuffed crab for The Commander’s chef, Robert Staegemann, to prepare for their dinner; there are both market and restaurant prices on display for the two options. All of the restaurant’s food, wine and flowers come from the suppliers displayed in the shop, giving transparency to the provenance of the produce.
It is laudable, although not unusual, to see a menu based on seasonal ingredients, and a central London restaurant championing independent suppliers but it would make more sense to see more local suppliers championed—The Ginger Pig’s produce comes from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which rather ignores the plentiful decent producers in business in the south-east.
With so many restaurants closing in London, it’s a brave time to launch a new project, but Notting Hill may well be able to support the venture—particularly with so many of our native celebrity chefs, from Jamie Oliver to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, banging the drum for British produce.