Most TikTok influencers like talking about it – Not Straker. During the lockdown, the angular, wise-cracking London chef’s high-energy movies have attracted millions of views and 900,000-plus Instagram followers.
Butter: Each episode of his All Things Butter program, covering 50 days of butter in tastes from crispy skin chicken to whiskey, gets tens of thousands of YouTube views and millions on TikTok. He consumes enough butter on television to worry a cardiologist.
Since opening in October, Straker’s eponymous restaurant has been a huge success. Straker’s is on a quiet lane in Notting Hill, near Portobello Road. From the street, it seems like any of the city’s white-walled dining rooms. Straker and his colleagues throw a high-energy celebration inside. The 43-seat restaurant has energetic discussions at tables and along the chef’s counter, which is dominated by a large wood-burning oven and old school songs like Shalamar’s Make That Move.
Straker might have turned the site into a butter shrine, with consumers lining up on Golborne Street to capture films. Instead, the Mediterranean-British chef uses olive oil to make grilled quail with smoked eggplant, yoghurt, and sweetbreads with radicchio and sherry vinegar. He doesn’t sell butter boards, 2022’s most popular (and worst) culinary craze.
Straker’s affordable, crowd-pleasing cuisine The chef opened a London restaurant during a difficult period. At 11.1% food inflation, he opened his place. (10.7%). Headlines about individuals choosing “eating or heating” began appearing.
The Straker’s Menu
Straker is strict about his shopping list since he knows people want expensive neighbourhood food. He won’t sell when materials are pricey. He removed turbot from the menu when it reached £50 per kilogram (approximately $28 per lb). I need to charge £80 to generate money. He claims the fancy fish can’t be done. Instead of serving diver scallops as an expensive entrée, he garnished his mussel flatbread with them for £20. “Being a little more reasonable, we make quite a few veggie dishes, we utilize game, mollusks, mussels and clams, things like that,” he adds of his cost-effective ingredients.
Instead of expensive meats, he grills broccoli and serves it with stracciatella, pickled pears, roasted beets, fennel, and citrus. Tender pork loin is served with inexpensive carrots, apples, and radishes. He also maximizes flour. “Our greatest seller is a fantastic spaghetti with chanterelles,” he explains. “Flour and water wins.”
Straker maximizes kitchen equipment to save money. “We have a few gas appliances, which is obviously extremely expensive,” he explains. (UK small companies will get less than £50 in government subsidies after energy costs skyrocketed.)
His pizza oven is cheaper and retains heat overnight. “You’ll arrive in the morning, the pizza oven still at 250 degrees,” he adds. “We have been roasting entire celeriac overnight.”
Since hunting and foraging on a Herefordshire farm as a child, Straker has been “captivated by food.” His portfolio includes ambitious restaurants. He’s cooked at the Ledbury and Heston Blumenthal’s two-Michelin-star Dinner. He desired a simpler home. Straker’s opened for £500,000. “A little over budget,” he explains, due to excessive inflation. He used dining room chairs, tables, and bar stools to save money. He hung pictures from an art dealer buddy.
The chef’s social media fame helps fill the eatery. Dinner reservations are scarce. “We practically sold out in the first months in 10 minutes,” he explains.
Straker’s kitchen doesn’t restrict butter, either. Mussels and scorched chilli flatbread sell well. The chef purees a handful of cooked mussels, garlic, and spicy peppers in room-temperature butter and spreads it on a dough circle. He dumps the dough into his wood-burning oven for 60 seconds. The leopard-charred disk exudes butter-like sauce when sliced.
Straker prefers to offer the buttery flatbread than discuss its most luxurious element. His TikTok page shows artichoke tagliolini, potato gnocchi, and other Notting Hill-style dishes. “I don’t want to be pigeonholed,” he adds to his cooking style. “I suppose be myself again.”
Feature Image: Pixabay