Our pubs are loved by locals for the great food served. Chef Director, Paul Merrett, works closely with each of our head chefs to produce menus that bring together the best of Modern British, Mediterranean and spice. Previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Greenhouse in Mayfair, Paul delivers fine dining flair and attention to detail at gastropub prices. The team has strong relationships with quality British farmers, butchers, and fruit and veg growers.
Our shopping list
Paul Merrett, Executive Chef of The Fox and Grapes, writes:
Sourcing ingredients for The Fox and Grapes is a big part of my job. I spend a lot of time meeting new suppliers, testing new products and visiting farms and producers.
I try to shop as seasonally as possible and keep a careful eye on food-miles too.
I am very proud of the suppliers we work with and the quality of the produce we receive. It doesn’t matter how good a chef you are if the produce we use is not up to scratch.
We often get interest from guests in how we source our produce so the back of the menu felt like a good place to share that information.
Most of our meat is sourced by Paul Reeves a butcher based in Berkshire. Paul has a great knowledge and buys direct from farmers.
Our beef comes from a few select Surrey farms. We use various cuts and all are 21 day minimum dry aged. This process is important as it increases both tenderness and flavour.
The pork we use is from Dingley Dell, a family run farm on the east coast of Suffolk which produce excellent welfare friendly pork from a mainly red Duroc-based herd.
Our lamb comes from Cornwall and our sausages are made in Rutland by Farmer Lou. She started rearing pigs and selling artisan sausages at markets and country shows and uses only rare breeds – the sausages are 85% lean meat from the shoulder, leg and loin.
Fish and shellfish
Our fish comes from Bethnal Green…. Well it’s not caught there obviously but I work with a fantastic East End fish supplier called Serge who buys sustainable day boat fish and shellfish from the harbour side in Cornwall and Newhaven.
Fruit and vegetables
Most of our fruit & veg come to us from our Covent Garden based supplier Fresh Connect, who started out as a small family run greengrocer but now also supply a few restaurants. I make regular visits to the market with my head chefs to see new produce and to check what’s in season.
There are certain fruits and vegetables that we will only ever use in season. They are almost like a little culinary calendar ticking off the months. Yorkshire rhubarb in January and February, English asparagus from April, Jersey Royal potatoes in May, English berries from June and then a summer full of soft fruits, apples and pears before the glorious greens of early autumn.
Our shopping list includes a few additional surprises…
Not everything can come from Britain though…..our passion for a bit of exotic spicy food does mean that we also use a specialist Asian supplier for things like curry leaf, lemon grass and galangal.
We also make occasional use of some specialist suppliers such as Spanish produce from Brindisa and Greek produce from Odysea.
Then, in spring and early summer, I use a forager to find us those hedgerow gems that are abundant in the British countryside – nettles, elderflower, wild garlic, morels and chickweed.
And then there is you! We have had keen allotment folk bring in their surplus of carrots or parsnips or soft fruit and we are always happy to swap it for a beer or two!
We are always looking for new interesting suppliers and producers to work with so if you think your spuds are better than ours or you know someone doing something amazing then do let us know!
Paul Merrett: @PaulMerrettChef