The new pub/restaurant:
The 3 Crowns Public House and Kitchen opened in Shoreditch in May, combining the skills of head chef Lee Urch, restaurant manager Rohit Patkar and bar manager Luca Mathiszig-Lee.
The venue is split in two, with a bar area holding around 70 customers and a 50-cover restaurant towards the back. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a daily changing menu is centred around seasonal, well-sourced dishes alongside world wines and an ‘old classic’-themed cocktail menu.
The idea was to bring all of our skills together," says Luca. "Lee is cooking in the kitchen, Rohit understands the restaurant side of things and I work on the pub side of things. We want it to be accessible to everyone and we want it to live long into the future.
"You can come in and have a pint or a three-course meal. We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
How I got to where I am now:
I grew up just down the road from The Eagle in Farringdon, which was my dad’s local. When I was old enough to get a job, my dad put me forward to work at the pub. So I worked weekends there when I was 17.
I tried to go to university, I studied advertising for a year, but I didn’t like it and I eventually came back and did a bit more waiting tables at The Eagle. I then tried my hand in the fashion industry, but I ended up leaving that and coming back to The Eagle again. The owner, Mike Belben, asked if I wanted to do the job full-time. So I was a manager there for two or three years.
When I thought this was what I wanted to do as a career, I scoured the internet for good jobs to go and do at top restaurants. I had a trial at one, but I hated it. I found it a bit too serious.
I’d always loved food but I thought I was going to go down the art school route. I didn’t think of food, or restaurants, as a career. When I didn’t go to university I thought I’d missed out. But a lot of my friends now, that did go to university, don’t have a job. I think more young people should take this industry seriously, loads of people take up a bar job as a stop gap – they don’t realise the potentials there are.
My biggest challenge:
Opening this venue and trying to get everything to happen accordingly and on-time has been difficult. The stresses of opening a business and overseeing a project are tough.
My greatest achievement:
Finally having The 3 Crowns open and running well is a great achievement for me. The space has worked as I planned it to work - the restaurant and bar are often full. When you can get the buzz going and the atmosphere right, it’s a great feeling.
What I love about hospitality:
The buzz of service – the instant reaction and appreciation you get for the work that you do. If you paint a picture and sell it, you never know what people actually think at the time. With food, you make it, you serve it, and you get the reaction back straight away.
What I don’t like:
I’m not a big fan of the hype around certain food trends. It’s nice that we've had some great burger joints opening up in London, but then all of a sudden everyone wants to do burgers. These trends come along and then they’re gone in a year or two. People jump on to a trend because they think it’s an easy thing to do, but the quality of the product often isn’t up to scratch.
If I wasn’t working in hospitality:
When I was in art school I had a clothing brand with a friend. That went really well – over one Christmas, we were in 25 stores around England. I do still love the fashion industry, but not as much as I love hospitality.
My advice for young chefs:
People need to believe in themselves a lot more. I’ve met a lot of chefs that are great, but they aren’t confident enough to go for jobs. If something needs to be done, you can do it - you just have to challenge yourself and believe you can do it.
I would like to open one or two more pub/restaurants. This 3 Crowns has to be successful, of course, but I would love to open a few more places, something a bit fun. But my main aim at the moment is to make The 3 Crowns work – there’s no point having three venues that aren't successful.
The 3 Crowns Public House and Kitchen is now open at 8 East Road, Old Street, London.