What's My Weekend: Jason Atherton
Running seven restaurants in London and another eight worldwide, it's not often that I get a Friday night off. The past few months have been particularly busy with Sosharu, above, our new Japanese izakaya-style restaurant in Clerkenwell (64 Turnmill St, London EC1M 5RR, 020 3805 2304) that launched earlier this year, and with my new partnership with Heathrow VIP, where I've been creating a new monthly menu for the exclusive service.
I travel a lot with work, so when I have a weekend in London, I like to make the most of it
My wife, Irha, works as my co-director at our head office in Soho, and as we're both obsessed with restaurants, we'll spend Friday evenings enjoying some of our favourites.
I'll walk over from Pollen Street Social (8-10 Pollen St, W1S 1NQ, 020 7290 7600) to meet her and then we grab a cab and head to Chiltern Firehouse (1 Chiltern St, W1U 7PA, 020 7073 7676) for drinks. I love the atmosphere there, it feels homely but decadent, and is always great for a cocktail or two – I'm partial to a Negroni – perfect with one of chef Nuno Mendes' delicious crab donuts.
Afterwards, we'll join the queue at Barrafina (54 Frith St, W1D 4SL), for some of the best tapas in town. I was lucky enough to do a stage with Ferran Adrià at elBulli early in my career, so Spanish food has always had a huge influence on my cooking.
Last year I launched Social Wine & Tapas in Marylebone (39 James St, W1U 1DL, 020 799 3257) – I love the relaxed atmosphere you get with tapas, everyone tucking in around the table.
At Barrafina we'll start with a couple of para picar (snacks) like Pan con Tomate and Pimientos de Padron, before moving onto some seafood – the fish of the day, or maybe some gambas al Ajillo –with a cold glass of sherry.
Today it's all about heading outdoors, which usually revolves around various stops for food or drinks. We live in Balham, so I love to pop down to the market on Hildreth Street early. It's great for flowers as well as fruit and veg – I'll pick up whatever's the most seasonal.
Once I've filled my bags at the market I pop to Chadwick's the butchers (109 Balham High Rd, SW12 9AP, 020 8772 1895) to pick up some essentials – it's a family-run shop and they have a great personal touch. If we have people coming for dinner, I'll usually get some rib-eye steaks from them to put on the BBQ, served with chimichurri sauce and chips.
After shopping, I'll stop for some breakfast at Brickwood (11 Hildreth St, Balham SW12 9RQ, 020 8772 6818) – which does great Aussie coffee and freshly baked banana bread. Then to Northcote Road, which has some really good independent shops. I'm a bit of a fashion nut, as is Irha, so Question Air (143-145 Northcote Rd, London SW11 6PX, 020 7924 6948) is a favourite. It's a brilliant little boutique for designer fashion and great denim - with some interesting smaller brands as well as the big guns. I love shoes, so I usually can't resist buying a pair
In the afternoon we'll head into the West End to catch a matinee musical, Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman St, W1D 7DY, 0844 871 7630 ) was a favourite, as was Thriller (Lyric Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES, 0844 412 4661).
Despite working in the industry I never tire of food, and trying out new restaurants is always a thrill. On Saturday evenings we love nothing more than finding somewhere new and exploring the menu.
We love Frenchie in Covent Garden (16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden,WC2E 8QH, 020 7836 4422) which serves delicious French food – try the Brillat Savarin cheesecake with raspberries, elderflower and pistachio.
I always keep track of the Guest Series at Lyle's (Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JJ, 020 3011 5911). They collaborate with some fantastic guest chefs from around the world, and we recently went to their dinner with Tatiana Levha, who cooks Filipino-French food with seasonal and local ingredients.
Sundays are all about lazy mornings and late brunches. One of our favourite spots to head to is Milk (20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG,020 8772 9085). Irha will have something healthy like avocado on toast and I'll get a bacon sandwich!
If it's sunny we'll spend the afternoon walking around Battersea Park, and in the evening, I like a relaxed dinner at Scott's, one of our all-time favourites (20 Mount St, W1K 2HE, 020 7495 7309). I love sitting at one of the booths in the corner, so you can see the whole room. We'll start with the mixed oysters with wild boar sausage to share, followed by skate wing (or I might even treat myself to fish and chips.)
Jason Atherton, Michelin-starred chef, is currently working on an exclusive menu collaboration for Heathrow VIP's premium lounge service, inspired by his internationally renowned restaurants
- Jason opened his flagship, Michelin-starred restaurant 'Pollen Street Social' in 2011, and since then The Social Company has grown into a globally renowned restaurant group. Sosharu, a Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell, launched earlier this year.
Heathrow's VIP service offers passengers luxurious, private and personalised travel through the airport.