Ahead of the Coronavirus 2020 lockdown measures being eased we catch up with Steven Edwards of etch to find out how he’s been coping, what measures he’ll be looking at implementing at etch and how he’s used the downtime to further hone his multi-award-winning offering.
What have you missed most about etch during the lockdown?
I have missed the buzz of the restaurant. It’s so nice to have a restaurant full of guests and the team smashing out great food.
Are there things you’ve decided to change about etch, during the enforced reflection time?
We are always looking to enhance the experience as much as we can. This downtime hasn’t been wasted and has enabled us to be creative with menus and also re-organise our selves as a team to make sure we hit the ground running when we re-open.
What do you think we’ll see more of in the hospitality industry generally as lockdown ends?
I think the industry will focus more on what we pride ourselves on and to be fair a lot of Brighton’s best restaurants are already doing – 30 cover chef lead restaurants focusing on quality over volume.
What measures do you plan to take to ensure etch can operate safely, post lockdown?
We have a lot of measures that we may or may not use depending on the guidance from the government. We have reduced the number of guests that can dine with us from 32 to 24, increased our cleaning rotas, making sure touchpoints are sanitised, we also have a quote on face guards, table screens, bar and kitchen screens but as I said we may or may not have to do all of this depending on guidance that we are waiting for.
While most of us have resorted to eating food standing up and straight out of the fridge we imagine you’ve been getting in some creative time. What have you been exploring food-wise?
I have spent a lot of the three months really honing in on the philosophy of etch and trying to make us more unique. We have been doing a lot of research into how herbs can emphasise certain dishes as well as bringing a freshness to the dish. I love the thought of using forgotten herbs instead of spices in the restaurant.
Lots of great restaurants have introduced a takeaway or “finish at home” style food offering, have you tried any? Any stand out?
For me, Adam Handling is leading the way in the finish at home offering. Looks and tastes great and you can watch him finish the dish so that you can replicate using a QR code. Takeaways we are spoilt for choice in Brighton and Hove which is one of the reasons why we didn’t offer this service. I was very pleased when Meat Liquor did click and collect.
What’s been your distraction?
I’ll be honest, I’ve really tried to focus on bettering my lifestyle. Trying to eat unprocessed foods and exercise as much as I can. The kids and I have really taken to cycling especially as the roads are quieter and safer.
Biggest achievement during the lockdown?
My beard. Sad, I know. I said I wouldn’t shave during the lockdown in a kind of protest while the restaurants where closed. I’m regretting it now though as the warm weather comes in and I have a half a kilo rug on my face. I’m looking forward to shaving this off in celebration of the restaurants re-opening!
Lockdown ends and you decide to spend a day eating in your favourite places in Brighton, where do you go for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks?
Any personal post-lockdown resolutions?
I’m not going to take a cold beer in a pub for granted again.