Chiswick local and gastronomic guru, Lorraine Angliss tells us what it takes to be the brains behind three of West London’s most popular restaurants
Words Hannah Hopkins
What’s a typical day like as a successful restauranteur?
Busy! Myself and my team work continuously to make sure that the restaurants are running smoothly – like well oiled machines!
What is it about the industry that excites you?
It’s what I know and love. Ever since I was a child I knew I was destined for this industry – growing up I’d play ‘waitress’ rather than playing with Barbies.
What’s your favourite part of opening a restaurant? And your least favourite?
Watching all the hard work come to fruition and seeing my guests enjoy the fruits of my labour. My least favourite?…The labour!
How do you go about keeping current and fresh in this competitive market?
In the old days there wasn’t as much competition and believe or not it was much easier. Now there is so much out there, both in choice and affordability. Social media has made everyone a critic and keeping up with trends is vital. I do this by visiting other restaurants and bars, constantly reading important and relatable industry news and attending all kinds of conferences, exhibitions and events.
You design the interiors of your restaurants in a unique style, have you always had a flare for the creative?
It’s most certainly something I have always enjoyed and I love being creative – designing restaurants is a fantastic outlet. I recently attended an Abigail Ahern tutorial day and I hope that when I have the time I can continue with my extracurricular design activities.
What can your guests look forward to when dining in one of your restaurants?
To be taken care of. There is no point going to a restaurant unless you’re going to be treated like one of the most important people in the world. You can expect to have excellent food, incredible cocktails and friendly professional service. Don’t forget to hashtag!
Your restaurants have won awards and accolades over the years, how does this make you feel?
Grateful. I’m lucky that the guests that come to my restaurants come back again and again. Annie’s for example has truly become a local institution with regulars that have dined with us since we opened 15 years ago. It makes me proud and happy.
How do you design the menu?
Having a clear direction is paramount and the menu must fit the brand and keep up with what people want. Annie’s offers good classic British cooking, done well. Rock & Rose is slightly more eclectic with Pan Asian food. Little Bird is a new concept and offers delicious dishes to share, with small plates and bowls. I make a lot of the decisions on the menu – it has to be perfect!
What qualities do you need to be a successful entrepreneur?
Determination and passion. Without these attributes, you’ll lose the will to persevere and often it takes time to develop a business.
Do you have any top tips for anyone starting their own business?
Follow your dreams but have clear systems in place, manage your team well and be consistent. Allow for mistakes and learn from them, don’t dwell if something doesn’t work – try something else instead. Do as much research as you possibly can, be thorough and you should have the right ingredients for greatness.
How do you juggle family with work life?
It’s hard, my parents are getting old now and I must make sure they’re happy and comfortable. My son gives me a lot of joy and I can’t imagine my life without him. So although these things can be difficult to juggle at times – I make it work…somehow!
How long have you been in Chiswick?
I have lived in Chiswick for 20 years now and I love the area. It’s close enough to central London but far enough away to have some peace. Walking along the river and through Kew Gardens is one of my favourite past times, utter bliss. I’d be silly not to recommend Annie’s and Little Bird as hidden gems…they really are though!
How do you unwind when you’re not working?
Getting into my lovely warm home and watching nonsense TV, pottering around the house, visiting close friends and spending time in sunny Spain.
Where else do you like to eat other than your restaurants?
Notting Hill is a restaurant hotspot for me. So an Uber to the Electric or E&O is a must.
Do you have a secret talent?
I’m actually a whiz in the kitchen. Perhaps that’s not the world’s biggest secret seeing as I work in the trade but I don’t always have the opportunity to cook and I love it.
What’s your philosophy on life?
Kaizen. It means continuous improvement. I use it as my business mantra and in my personal life too. Happiness and growth is very important to me.
Finally, what are your hopes and plans for the future?
I’d like to fulfil my potential as a businesswoman. It’s so hard working in a male dominated industry, pushing through the barriers is a battle in itself but one I’m more than willing to take on. I’d like to hit the mainstream of restaurant credentials. Watch this space – you’ll be hearing from me!
Annie’s Chiswick & Barnes
162 Thames Rd, W4; anniesrestaurant.co.uk
36-38 White Hart Ln, SW13; anniesrestaurant.co.uk
Rock & Rose
106-108 Kew Rd, TW9; rockandroserestaurant.com
1 Station Parade, Burlington Lane, W4; littlebirdchiswick.com