Pierre Koffmann protégé and former Young National Chef of the Year, Ben Murphy, just 25, will launch his first restaurant, The Woodford, in South Woodford, on 1 March. Backed by Essex restaurateur Steve Andrews, the 100-cover restaurant will span two floors, with a dedicated oyster and seafood bar on the first floor.
Ben spent three years under Pierre Koffmann at his “masterful” Berkeley restaurant before moving to France for two years to work at Michel Guerard’s Les Pres d’Eugenie in south west France and Epicure at Le Bristol in Paris, working under Eric Fréchon.
He then returned to London to work at Mayfair’s “top notch” venue The Greenhouse, which boasts one a London’s best wine lists. His backer Steve Andrews founded The Blue Group – a collection of hotels, restaurants and bars – and more recently launched The Grey Group with two new restaurants.
The Woodford’s menu will be inspired by classic French techniques, using British produce. Dishes include: Lamb with aubergine and toasted peanut; hay smoked pigeon breast, confit egg yolk & burnt brown bead consommé and lobster, lemon, peach & fennel. and a dessert consisting of Olive oil cake with lemon thyme sorbet and buttermilk. The team will also use a variety of long-aged meats, including 60-day-aged beef.
Ben will also serve a dedicated grill offering with classic British steaks, chops, Creedy Carver duck and Norfolk Black whole chicken, as well as a seven course tasting menu.