Ruth Hansom, one of the UK’s most talented and exciting young chefs, is now Head Chef at The Princess of Shoreditch, of the Noble Inns group. Taking on the role in between lockdowns, Hansom brings her creative and refined approach to the east London establishment, with new and ambitious tasting menus in the first floor dining room and an elevated menu of modern British pub classics and bar snacks in the downstairs pub.
A rising star of the UK food scene, at just 25, Ruth Hansom has had an impressive career. Ruth spent five years at the prestigious Ritz, during which time the restaurant won its first Michelin star in its long history. Whilst at the Ritz, Ruth became the youngest ever female chef to win the Young National Chef of the Year award and last year, she reached the finals on the BBC’s Great British Menu, where she was the youngest chef competing for the North East.
A stone’s throw from Old Street on the City and Shoreditch border on Paul Street, “The Princess” is blissfully tucked away from the main hubbub of Shoreditch. There are two distinct spaces in the building, a quintessential 45-cover British pub downstairs, serving a bar menu alongside a carefully curated selection of wines, craft beers, ales and cocktails and an elegant, intimate 30-cover dining room upstairs offering the choice of a 5 or 8-course tasting menu.
Provenance is at the heart of Ruth’s menus, which are all underpinned by her classical French training. Ruth’s food is a celebration of seasonal British produce, only using ingredients when they’re at their very best. Signature dishes include an imaginative, monthly-rotating, vegetable-flavoured butter, served with potato and rosemary sourdough and caramelised onion brioche, the current incarnation being the Tomato butter (as pictured). Shaped like a Bull’s Heart tomato, it is made using the waste Isle of Wight tomato trimmings that would otherwise have been discarded. Next up will be the Mushroom butter, made from the excess mushroom duxelles used in the Beef Wellington on the downstairs menu. Seasonal pastas can also always be found on the first floor dining room menus, as well as seasonally-changing souffles downstairs, and daily tarts, such as riffs on the Bakewell and Lemon.
Highlights of the summer tasting menus include: British Corn - a reimagination of barbecued corn made from charred kernels and beurre noisette, served with charcoal and hazelnut praline, pickled mushrooms and nectarine; Native lobster ceviche with Isle of Wight tomato, Yorkshire Fettle (a feta-style sheep’s milk cheese made in the UK) with olive and fennel and Salt aged duck with artichoke, chicory, cherry and a potato & duck leg terrine - where the duck has been aged in purpose built salt chambers by Caterite in Cumbria. Dessert is Garden of England apricot, with floral elderflower and refreshing cucumber and dill.
Downstairs, the concise bar snacks menu includes highlights such as Heritage beetroot, truffle, goats cheese & London honey; Chicken, date & peanut terrine; Treacle-cured sea trout & pickled fennel - line caught by Woods Fish on the South coast, and homemade Princess charcuterie. On the ground floor, Ruth is also known for her twists on modern British pub classics, such as variations on the Wellington including a Beef and truffle Wellington and a Plaice, leek and brown shrimp version. On Sundays, a stellar Sunday Lunch menu is served across both floors, including dishes such as Rhug Estate venison tartare and Iron Age pork belly with Bramley apple.
The Princess of Shoreditch wine list features wine exclusively sourced from family-owned wineries and select co-operatives made up of small batch growers, with highlights including wines produced in the UK, such as Litmus Orange wine from Surrey.
Recently renovated, the chic upstairs restaurant boasts many local Shoreditch elements, including stylish large-filament glass hanging lights by sustainable brand Tala on Vyner Street. Intimate black and white shots of quiet East London backstreets by photographer Lucas Sage adorn the walls. In a nod to her Northern roots, Ruth has also sourced handmade bowls and plates from Caroline Burton, in Hawes, North Yorkshire, and bespoke wooden boards made by craftsman, Jamie Hubbard in Worcestershire.