Tom and Ed Martin - the minds behind a group of nine London gastro-pubs including The Botanist
The Cadogan Arms
and The Gun
- on their latest operation, The Angel & Crown WC2...
What motivates you about the Great British pub?
TM: It’s unique – somewhere which provides the warmest of welcomes, a relaxed environment in which to socialise and, nowadays, often food and drink of a quality to rival that of any top restaurant, bistro, brasserie or bar.
EM: Their long, noble history, which I’m proud to be a part of.
In what condition did you find The Angel & Crown?
TM: It was very run down, having suffered years of neglect. We spent considerable time and money rehabilitating it to a standard a central London public house dating from 1727 deserves. There has been real attention to detail in developing interior finishes.
EM: Some walls were very damp purely because nobody had cleared the guttering. Distinctive features include the prize Grayling, (a salmon sibling) on our wall and the glass tankards hanging from the ceiling.
Can you tell us about your home-grown philosophy?
TM: Every year we go hunting in the Czech Republic for boar and venison. These are gutted, skinned, butchered and brought back to our kitchens.
EM: Last year I planted a further 20 trees in Suffolk to bolster our orchard that provides the fruit for the jams for our breakfast and afternoon tea at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms and The Botanist. We also set up two beehives. I spend a week each year blending our ETM house wine in The Languedoc. Finally, we’re working on our own beer with Sambrook’s.
What are the dishes at the Angel & Crown you are most proud of?
TM: I love our classic bar snacks like the warm black pudding Scotch egg with Brown Sauce, and our pheasant sandwich.
EM: I’m hooked on the Scotch egg too, and the partridge and pheasant pie with bone marrow.
How important are your staff?
TM: Critically. The key to recruiting and keeping good staff is to offer full training and plenty of motivation, as well as a solid career path for development.
EM: They’re our lifeblood, from the creativity of our chefs, to the charming front of house team.
Do you plan more central London openings?
TM: We’re opening our tenth in February in the City.
EM: And there will be more after!