Alex Bond
Published 31 October 2018

Alchemilla was one of our biggest (and best) surprises this year. It was the energy, confidence and passion coming from the kitchen that grabbed our attention. We caught up with our award winner, Alex Bond, to find out more about his approach.

Before he opened Alchemilla in Nottingham in 2017, Alex Bond was head chef at the now-closed Turners in Birmingham but he also worked at Restaurant Sat Bains, a connection that has stood him in good stead for running his own restaurant.

‘I learnt a lot from Sat’, says Alex. ‘Sat was amazing for encouraging us to get on with dishes and follow through ideas, rather than just talking about them. If we had an idea and somebody in the kitchen nodded that it sounded good, we could just order what we needed and make it. It was a very creative atmosphere and I loved that’

Alex admits he was ‘surprised but flattered’ to be named this year’s Chef to Watch.

‘We just do what we do and never think anybody’s watching other than the customers so it was a big surprise though we’re always excited to be recognised. We don’t have the huge audience London restaurants have so in some ways we have to do something different and create something special’.

Alex describes the food at Alchemilla as ‘plant-based Modern British’ and although it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, meat is used sparingly. ‘Sometimes we might use lardo or chicken skin as a seasoning, but I don’t think people should be eating loads of meat anyway’.

With plans to open a new roof terrace next spring, complete with a growing space for the kitchen, Alchemilla’s commitment to vegetables looks set to go to another level.

‘The plant-based side of things is important to us. We try to give people something different and we try to introduce people to the fun and interesting side of vegetables and show that they can be the star of the show, not the support act’.

‘My favourite thing is when carnivores eat here and tell me at the end of their meal that their favourite dishes were the vegetable ones’.

Good Food Guide Awards 2019