MY FAVOURITE PLACES: ANDREI LUSSMANN
Andrei Lussmann grew up in West Africa where he first learned to drink strong espresso and fell in love with Italian food. His father worked for Impresit Bakolori, a construction company owned by Fiat, and the family lived in a version of Little Italy built by the car company in the middle of the desert, complete with a pizza oven. Andrei worked for Forte, Pizza Express and Corney and Barrow before opening his own business. He now has restaurants in Hitchin, Harpenden, St Albans and Hertford, with another Lussmanns soon to open in Tring. He talks to Muddy Herts about his love of big, open spaces, where to go on holiday at Easter, and how he admired Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of the evil Richard Roper in The Night Manager.
Thompson, St Albans
Phil Thompson at Thompson is a top chap and even better chef. I think he’ll have a Michelin star sooner rather than later. It’s quite clear that he’s the best chef in the county. He is doing something very special and it’s always a pleasure to eat at his restaurant. I’m looking forward to working with him on our first ‘Dream Team Charity Dinner’ in aid of Youth Talk on 7 February.
Hatch, St Albans
I’m old fashioned. I like Italian, hard core, dark-roasted coffee. I don’t like any of the new blonde roasts that the Australians brought over twenty years ago, although I do applaud the newer coffee houses such as Hatch. Chris Evans does a great job there with his very botanical and citrus New World coffee.
Barrissimo, St Albans
I like Barrissimo because the style of coffee is what I grew up on. At work I drink hundreds of espressos in a week. At home I have a stove-top espresso pot; wouldn’t leave home without it.
I love the Embankment in Bedford. It’s tree-lined, with a traditional bandstand. You can even enjoy learning how to row, down the river.
This is a stunning organic vineyard in Provence. They produce an amazing rosé that you can only buy from Daylesford Farmshop. Corney and Barrow flew me out on a Lear jet, not your standard field trip! We arrived in Toulon on a deserted runway with four waiting racing green Land Rovers. I suddenly realised what it would be like to live like Richard Roper in The Night Manager, great fun.
Natural History Museum, Tring
Tring reminds me of an ABC book. It’s got the best museum in the world. It’s on the border with Buckinghamshire and has the delightful Ashridge Estate. It’s quiet, and it reminds me of a less hectic time. I’m an old-fashioned guy and can’t wait to open Lussmanns there.
North west Wales is one of my favourite places on earth. Affordable, quiet and an abundance of natural beauty. Edwardian castles, rugged unspoilt coastline and a pace of life that suits us all. It takes such a long time to get there but when you do it’s always worth it. You have your packed lunch, your flask of coffee and you’re off. Amazingly, every Easter when we’ve been there it hasn’t rained. It’s wonderful British countryside. It’s a place where you just go back to basics and I really love that.
Tresco, Isles of Scilly
My best holiday ever. You feel as though you are in a tropical paradise with wonderful flora and fauna and these amazing succulents. It’s slightly volcanic, with beautiful beaches and an old monastery. There is nobody there and it’s just delightful. It does of course help that there is a fantastic deli (Tresco Stores and Deli) so you can cook up a wonderful dinner and then feel as if you can get back into the wild. You are of course reliant on good sun. That was probably my favourite holiday, and it was in Britain. You don’t have to go to the South of France or Spain.