A menu should give you a good indication to what the particular establishment you are in or thinking of visiting is trying to be and achieve, from content to wording to design. It is my shop window, it echoes my philosophy of food and is my culinary mission statement.
It should be easy to read and understand. Descriptions should be concise and informative. A customer will generally take a few words or seconds to decide whether they like a dish or not and move onto the next. So it is important to keep it to the point and not go off on some mad creative writing exercise as is often the case with too many menus.
There is nothing worse than having to choose the dish you dislike the least from a menu that’s content is limited. At the Hardwick the choice is almost ridiculous for the size of the restaurant. This doesn’t make for an easy life but it works and customers enjoy visiting for old favourites and new dishes alike. We can’t be all things to all people but I think that there is something for most people on our menu.
One of the many pleasures of living in South Wales is that I am now closer and often at the source of produce that features on the Hardwick menus. It is easy to take for granted in London, and most major cities, that you can pick up the phone and order pretty much anything you want to be delivered the following morning. But imagine how wonderful it is to go to some of my producers directly, chose my own produce alongside them, cook that produce and then credit them on the menu. For me it’s about building relationships with incredibly passionate people because ultimately the Hardwick is only as good as the produce it uses.
Stephen Terry – April 2011