The Audley’s been voted the best in London in a national award. We catch up with executive chef Jamie Shears

How does it feel to have won best pub in the National Pub and Bar Awards?
It’s an amazing accolade for the team – we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time. It’s so great to see regulars, locals and the community return to The Audley Public House since we reopened, and an honour to be recognised among our peers.  

What makes The Audley so special?
I think everyone would agree it is our ceiling by British artist Phyllida Barlow – it’s always great to see everyone’s reaction as they walk through the doors and look up, as it’s not what people would expect in a local pub. Aside from that, it’s the fact that this is a historic British pub that has been restored and renovated, even down to the original fireplace and ceiling clock which are still here today. The food plays into this too – we’ve got all the British pub classics on there, together with some really interesting historic dishes such as cockle popcorn and London Dip – all of which are best enjoyed with a freshly poured pint! 

The Audley has always been a neighbourhood pub – how have you managed to retain that sense of community?
Since opening, we have made a huge effort to get to know as many of the local community as possible, as well as taking part in various community events such as the Mount Street Garden Party. We also host regular events that bring the community together, whether it’s watching the Six Nations on the big screen or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a local Irish band. People know they can return time and again and have that same welcome from the team. 

How important is the local community? 
Very important. We may be in the centre of London, but Mayfair is like a village in itself. There are not only several residents in the area but businesses that have traded in Mayfair for several years. 

Who are your customers?
It’s a real mix due to being in the heart of London – we often see our local regulars coming in for a drink or lunch, together with local office workers, tourists and visitors from out of town. 

You also run Mount St. Restaurant – whats it like running two very different places?
It’s a very busy kitchen! We serve all the food for the pub, restaurant and private rooms from one kitchen. I’ve got a great team who work really well together – it keeps me on my feet, and no two days are the same. It’s great to be able to explore two very different food concepts under one roof – a more refined and elegant menu at Mount St. Restaurant, together with British classics from the pub. 

How would you describe the style of food?
The style of the food in The Audley Public House is classic British cuisine with a nod to historic London dishes. I really enjoy researching and unearthing these old recipes – such as Catherine Ives’ Cookery Book from the 1930s which has provided a lot of inspiration for the menu. Seasonality and provenance are hugely important to me – we spend a lot of time ensuring our suppliers share the same ethos, while our beef and lamb comes from our farm down in Somerset – this is also the same for Mount St. Restaurant. 

What are your most popular dishes?
One of our most popular dishes is our Sunday Roast, which changes seasonally throughout the year, often using lamb and beef from our farm in Somerset. Only available on Sundays – but you have to get here early, it’s very popular! 

The building is full of extraordinary works of art – has that translated in any way into your cooking?
It’s certainly provided a lot of inspiration! There are a few dishes on the menu at Mount St. Restaurant which imitate the art – last year we had a seasonal dish on the menu called ‘A Plate of Mylor Prawns’ which was inspired by Lucien Freud’s ‘A Plate of Prawns’ that we have hanging in the restaurant. 

What do you like about Mayfair?
I love the sense of community – not just in terms of the residents but also from a personal perspective. There is a great group of chefs working in and around Mayfair and we often meet up. 

Whats next for Artfarm?
Farm Shop recently opened just around the corner from The Audley – with Butcher Shop and a wine bar. There are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline – watch this space!