“I hope it will run forever”: Agnar Sverrisson on Texture turning 10

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Agnar Sverrisson on Texture London restaurant turning 10
The Icelandic chef opened Michelin-starred Texture in London’s Marylebone a decade ago this month and was ahead of the New Nordic food scene in the capital. And there’s still plenty of life in it in yet.

How does it feel to be celebrating 10 years in business?

Absolutely crazy, it’s gone so fast it’s unbelievable. It almost feels like we opened yesterday.

How has Texture evolved over the past decade?

Everything in the restaurant, from the cutlery to the tables, has changed more than once. We were trying too hard with the food and the wine in the beginning. I was cooking more for myself than the customers. I was doing all kinds of crazy stuff trying to show off how good I was rather than just serving fantastic food that people like. The food is much simpler now but is better than it’s ever been. We’re much more down to earth these days, but that comes with experience.

What was the impact of winning a Michelin star in 2010?

It changed a lot for us. When we opened in 2007 things were brilliant but then in 2008 the credit crunch hit. 2008-9 were very difficult years for the restaurant; we were struggling to get customers because we were charging Michelin prices without having a star, so we didn’t make much money. When we got the star it put us in another ball game to be honest, all of a sudden we started getting busier and better known, so it helped us a lot.

Texture isn’t a typical fine dining restaurant…

We’ve always been very informal and have never used tablecloths, which felt a bit odd in a fine dining restaurant in 2007. Ten years ago we didn’t use cream or butter in our starters or main courses and we still don’t today. It was unique at the time and I think it still is now; we only use fat in our desserts. It was a conscious decision on my part because I felt like we got much cleaner flavours that were sharper and fresher.

Texture

How much of your produce is sourced from Iceland?

Texture is not an Icelandic restaurant but I always try and have some Icelandic ingredients on the menu. At the moment I’m using Icelandic lamb, and sometimes I use langoustines, cod and seaweed.

What do you think of the rise of Nordic restaurants in London over the past decade?

The trend has been going on for some time now and there seems to be Nordic restaurants opening everywhere, but it won’t last forever. There was a trend for Spanish restaurants beforehand and something else will follow. I think what we’re going to see in the future are simpler dishes, with ingredients cooked very nicely, and maybe more Asian influences in fine dining restaurants.

How is Texture celebrating its 10th​ anniversary?

Raymond Blanc came and cooked at the restaurant with me on the 5 September. I was at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons for five years from 2002, three of those as head chef. Both Raymond and [Le Manoir executive chef] Gary Jones have had a massive influence on me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I’m very good friends with Raymond, we’ve been salmon fishing and he regularly comes to the restaurant.

Arnaud Bignon (from two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse), and Ollie Dabbous will also be cooking a six-course menu on 19 September. I met Ollie at Le Manoir, and he was head chef at Texture for three years after we opened. I’m also partnering with Gaia Gaja wines to do a five-course wine dinner on 28 September.

salmon-gravlax-Texture
Salmon gravlax at Texture

You also run three 28°-50° wine bars in London​ as part of the Texture group, would you like to open more?

I don’t know at the moment. I’m lining something up that I don’t want to talk about yet so there may be some surprises to come.

What’s does the future hold for Texture?

I hope it will run forever, and that when I leave someone else takes over. In the past I’ve thought about moving the restaurant to Mayfair but now I think we’re in a great location. So Texture is hopefully going to be there for another ten years.

Would you consider opening another standalone restaurant?

Yeah, why not? Only time will tell but I’m always thinking about something else. Nothing is concrete but I will never do another Texture, it’s a one-off.

http://texture-restaurant.co.uk/

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