Alex's Inaugural Blog
It’s been an exciting and exhausting few months for us, and as I write this on the day we’re launching Winter at the Nettle and Rye, my pride at what the team have managed to do is tempered a little by realising the work has only really just started!
Pubs can bring out the best in communities, and from the start we wanted the Nettle to be a true community pub that also has the best array of craft beers in the Village. Not only that, but we wanted the restaurant above to bring something new in terms of the quality of food and the ethos the chefs have in creating it. I wish I could write here some notes from the meetings we have had over the last few months on how we could have a true British pub and a fine dining restaurant we could all be proud of on the same site; perhaps fortunately, I’ve been given a word count and I intend to stick to it! The passion that the staff have had in voicing what they think would be the best in pubs and the best in fine dining has been a privilege to be a part of, from the heated debates to the moments of brilliance; being part of a great, talented group of people trying to do something new is a really exciting thing.
I hope the passion and creativity show through. The pub downstairs now has some superb UK-only craft beers (we only ever serve UK beers, obviously!) and a food menu that quietly hints at the fine dining fayre available upstairs. The staff, as ever, are well worth talking to and are really looking forward to meeting their new team of customers.
Upstairs, Felix and Ed have created some incredible dishes from foraged and locally-sourced ingredients for the Winter menu, and the restaurant itself is bedecked in all things winter to bring the season into the restaurant. We had plenty of debates about the name and feel of the restaurant and decided in the end to let the food and the season speak for everything. The restaurant menu, décor and even the name will change every few months to become the celebration of each season that the chefs are so keen to create. They also wanted to emphasise the ‘casual’ in casual fine dining, with pictures of the staff in the restaurant and a feeling of coming to eat in someone’s home. I hope this is how people feel when they come to the restaurant but I know that Gary, the restaurant manager, and his staff can’ help but make people feel at home when they meet them.
I’ll be writing more in this blog over the coming weeks and months about the beers – there are lots of great tales of beer-hunting and some superb new artisan brewers to talk about – I’ll also be talking about what we’re doing now to re-invent the restaurant for spring. For now, welcome to the Nettle, I hope you have as much fun enjoying the pub and restaurant as we do in creating it.