Nathan Outlaw is renowned for his focus on the simple delights of British seafood cookery and runs the Michelin starred restaurant Outlaw’s at The Capital. He previously worked with Rick Stein at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and holds two Michelin stars for Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac.
Describe the dining experience at The Capital?
I want customers to have an experience to remember for all the right reasons. My aim is to offer guests an opportunity to sample the best quality, freshest, responsibly-sourced fish and seafood from fishermen we know in Cornwall and the West Country. It’s delivered straight to the heart of Knightsbridge so that we can guarantee this. The ingredients always take center stage and the menus showcase an array of original and creative seafood dishes. Dishes may seem simple, and they are simply cooked but they also have complex layers of flavor and that’s the tricky thing to achieve. In addition, we offer exceptional standards of hospitality from professional, knowledgeable and friendly staff. I want customers to relax and enjoy their time with us.
What is the signature dish?
We don’t have a signature dish as the menus are always changing with the season, though fish is always the star of the show. If I had to name one it would probably be the lobster risotto we serve from time to time. It never fails to please and we have customers who come when it’s on the menu just to enjoy that.
Where did the love for seafood come from?
Fish and the sea have always fascinated me, even as a child I used to love watching the waves roll in or searching around rock pools for crabs. British seafood is my passion, I love everything about it: the catching, the prepping and the cooking. People don’t realise that seafood is seasonal and that each piece reacts differently to cooking. It keeps me interested and on my toes.
Name a contemporary you admire?
At this moment in time, I’d say Tom Adams from Pitt Cue Co. He has the same passion for meat as I do for fish. He’s just opened a B&B working farm/restaurant near Launceston with April Bloomfield and it’s pretty cool.
What has been your proudest culinary moment?
There have been a few, but I was really chuffed to be awarded AA Chef of the Year 2015. It’s lovely receiving awards but having something that’s been voted for by your peers is really special.
Name the fish we should all be eating more of?
Mackerel –it’s without a doubt my favorite fish. It’s fantastically versatile and so good for you as it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Also cuttlefish, it’s really good in stews and curries and is forgiving if you overcook it a bit.
Where do you go to unwind after-work?
Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental, it’s just round the corner from The Capital and perfect for a cocktail after a busy service.
What’s your favorite thing about staying at The Capital?
The Capital is one of the last remaining family-owned and run boutique hotels in London. That’s pretty special and it always feels like a home from home.
Any celebrity diners you’ve wanted to throw out?
I’m too diplomatic to answer that one! The majority of our guests are lovely.
Name you favorite seasonal ingredient for this summer?
Mackerel, of course… and strawberries.
What’s the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?
Sea anemone in Hong Kong – never again!
Which food trend are you not happy with right now?
I can’t stand smears on plates!Or anything that constitutes messing about with food. It just isn’t necessary.
Who are the future stars in your kitchen?
I’m really passionate about nurturing young talent in the industry and am very proud of Academy Nathan Outlaw at Cornwall College. Outlaw’s at The Capital has apprentices from Bournemouth and Poole College and it’s great to see them progressing in the kitchen.
If you weren’t cooking what would be the dream job?
I really don’t know, cooking is the only thing I’m good at! Maybe something in the music industry, on the production side though.
Have you ever had a culinary disaster?
Probably, but I think all the best dishes come from trial and error. Like the time there was a spillage in the fridge that wasn’t found until the next day. That one resulted in a new cured fish dish!
Where did you train to cook, who inspired you?
I became interested in cooking at a young age, inspired by my Mum, a great home cook, and my Dad, Clive, who is a chef. Helping out in his kitchens was enough to make me realise I wanted to be a chef – and now he works with me as Pastry Chef at Outlaw’s at The Capital. I went to Thanet College (now east Kent College) and after my training and a stint in London I worked for Rick Stein at his seafood restaurant in Padstow and that was where I started to get really excited about fresh seafood.
Name your top 5 dinner party guests?
My wife, Rachel, Dave Grohl, The Queen, Chewbacca, Yoda, That would be interesting wouldn’t it?