When London institution and Green Michelin star recipient Tredwells became yet another pandemic casualty and shuttered its doors for the final time in September 2021, its fans were understandably dismayed. And so, when the restaurant’s chef-patron Chantelle Nicholson announced the opening of her latest project, Apricity, ears were immediately pricked.
Having opened on Mayfair’s smart Duke Street on April 12, Apricity is already creating a buzz on London’s vibrant restaurant scene, with Nicholson maintaining her steadfast focus on locally sourced and hyper-seasonal ingredients that has seen her earn a reputation as one of the country’s most pioneering chefs.
While the concept of sustainable fine dining is nothing out of the ordinary in today’s restaurant climate, what appears to be setting Apricity apart so far is Nicholson’s commitment to ‘joyful dining’; her food is intended to exude generosity and warmth, creating a truly inviting dining atmosphere and a spot for unfussy yet undeniably celebratory food.
“Creating a space that can serve delicious food and great drinks, with joy and purpose, is key to us,” says Nicholson. “We’re so happy to be able to hero the amazing growers and farmers within the UK, as well as partnering with other organizations that have an aligned ethos and culture. I am delighted to be working with Grosvenor Estates to create a greener, healthier and more conscious community within the heart of Mayfair, and beyond.”
New Zealand-born Nicholson’s culinary career is impressive, having worked under the likes of Marcus Wareing at The Savoy Grill and playing a key role in the opening of Tredwells in 2014, before taking on ownership of the restaurant in 2017.
As well as her established restaurant roles, Nicholson also proved herself to be impressively resilient in the face of the Covid-19 adversity, having opened All’s Well in 2021. Designed to support hospitality staff during the pandemic, the pop-up enjoyed a long summer in London’s borough of Hackney, before closing to allow Nicholson to focus on Apricity.
While Apricity is clearly Nicholson’s culinary baby, the day-to-day running of the kitchen has been entrusted to head chef Eve Seemann. Like Nicholson, Seemann is a fellow Tredwells alumni, having worked at the restaurant as head chef. It was here that she truly homed in on the conscious style of cooking that she is now showcasing at Apricity.
Apricity’s menu is centered around the principles of a circular economy and takes a zero-waste approach to cooking. The aim is to use every part of the ingredient, be it otherwise discarded vegetable offcuts or unusual cuts of meat.
Nicholson and her team have gone to great lengths to build relationships with only the best suppliers, prioritizing small-scale farmers, foraged ingredients and local producers. While the menu is very veg-forward, there are a fair number of regeneratively-farmed meat dishes, too.
The offering is impressively flexible, with diners able to choose between a comprehensive a la carte menu, a set lunch and two tasting menus – one plant-based, one meat.
Naturally, sharing highlights from a fluid menu that is designed to change regularly to mirror the seasons is tricky, but Nicholson’s opening menu is a spring delight. The likes of Newlyn cuttlefish, chili tomatoes and pork fat breadcrumbs; Crispy yellow oyster and black pearl mushrooms with XO sauce and wild garlic; and Milk chocolate baked mousse with miso and brown butter custard are all sure to become big hits.
The drinks menu follows the same ethos as the food with an impressive selection of intriguing bottles from producers who specialize in low-intervention and biodiverse winemaking. The cocktail list shouldn’t be missed either; closing the loop between bar and kitchen, many recipes creatively feature vegetable waste. For example, otherwise discarded beetroot juice forms the base of the Beetroot Negroni. And the rotating menu is local only – don’t expect any out-of-season citruses or carbon-heavy exotic fruits here.
Of course, Nicholson’s forward-thinking ethos doesn’t stop at the food, with Apricity’s interiors the work of sustainable design house, Object Space Place. The team took a restorative approach to design, upcycling some pieces while allowing existing features to shine through.
The result is an artfully unfinished space, with distressed paintwork and industrial exposed pipes sitting alongside warming golden light fixtures and lush hanging plants.
When the temperamental London climate allows, a small outside terrace will call out for guests to enjoy the luxury of alfresco eating, and for a more immersive look at Nicholson and her team at work, diners can book the basement Chef’s Table which all but sits inside the kitchen.
Apricity, 68 Duke Street, London, W1K 6JU