Tom Griffiths on bringing his brand of whole animal cookery to Spitalfields

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flank chef Tom Griffiths on bringing his brand of whole animal cookery to Spitalfields

Related tags: Spitalfields, Old spitalfields market

The chef behind Brighton nose-to-tail cooking concept Flank has moved to London to join the likes of Breddos Tacos, Berber and Q and Barbarian at Old Spitalfields Market.

The project is being overseen by Ten Ten, which has been set up by Chiltern Firehouse and Taberna Do Mercado chef Nuno Mendes and consultant Stephen Macintosh. Griffiths was the head chef at Brighton restaurant The New Club before running popular Flank residencies in Brighton pubs, first The Royal Sovereign on Preston Street and latterly The Cow on Dyke Road. Old Spitalfields Market opens later this week.

This all seems to have happened quite fast...

Yep. A few months ago I was down to launch Pascere in Brighton but I realised it wasn’t my style​. I’m on site now trying to work out how to get a box containing three Big Green Eggs into the building. It weighs 400kg. It’s a great project. I know Nuno through the industry. We share the same values and we get on really well. He’s also one of the nicest people I've ever met. 

What’s the setup like?

Each restaurant has an open kitchen and a counter. I’m hoping I can get around 12 people round ours. There are also around 50 additional covers in the middle of the space that are shared between the 10 operators. People can have a full-service experience at the counter, and if people want to order our food for the middle space they order and collect it from the counter.

So it’s a cross between a restaurant and a food court?

Yes pretty much. It’s a stunning space and it will be comfortable, they’ve put heating in. The kitchens are high spec too, it’s not like cooking in a dodgy pop-up space. We have a robata grill on one side of the kitchen and the three Big Green Eggs I mentioned previously on the other.

What’s the concept of Flank?

It’s modernised nose-to-tail cooking kept super simple and everything is cooked over fire. I want it to be accessible. We don’t use obscure wording or mad foraged ingredients or throw in the word ferment every five seconds. It’s food that everybody would want to eat. It will be broadly similar to what I was doing in Brighton. I have an all new team too. My number two is Drew Snaith, who has worked at Le Manoir and Kitty Fisher’s. There will be five of us in total.

Tell us about the menu...

The menu will be smaller than in Brighton: three starters, four mains and sides and sauces. You can pick braised beef (the offcuts) or you can pick prime cuts such as rumps, tomahawks and ribs. The latter selection will change every day because we need to go through the whole cow. We’ll also offer some game. At the moment it’s mallard. In the summer months when there’s not much game to be had we will probably serve high quality chickens.

What are the prices going to be like?

We’re looking at an average spend of £15 per head. The braised beef is going to cost £8 and it comes with a side so it will be very affordable. The more premium dishes will be around £10 and sides - which include bone marrow mash, onion and cabbage and cauliflower - will cost £4. We’ll also offer a range of sauces including salad cream, piccalilli and bacon gravy.

What about drinks?

Drinks are in discussion. It will be possible to buy drinks from an on site bar but we hope to do the alcohol for Flank eventually subject to licensing. It would be a very simple offering, just a couple of beers and natural wine.

How busy do you think you’ll be?

We’re hoping to build up to 200 covers a day. It’s simple food, we’re not doing tasting menus so we should be able to turn our covers reasonably quickly. But I measure success by the amount of cows we get through. If we can go through six a month that would be unreal.

Anything else in the works?

I see Flank as my platform. I want to get myself known in London and show people real whole animal cooking. I will be putting a lot of hours into this but I do want to grow the Flank brand. It’s quit hard doing it on a small scale as we need to buy in our meat in large quantities. We’re not just buying in steaks. 

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