|Lunching With Lorraine|
We talk chandeliers, chefs and comfort food with Annie's owner Ms Angliss
A successful female restaurateur is a rare breed. One that has created a string of much loved local institutions yet has keep her beautiful designer clad feet firmly on the ground is even rarer, but this is precisely what Lorraine Angliss has done.
Food, Passion, Glamour is the tag line for Rock and Rose, the third site in her current trio, and, like the restaurants themselves, reflects perfectly Lorraine’s effervescent personality.
She opened Annie’s in Strand on the Green nine years ago. Barnes followed a year later and Rock and Rose on the Kew Road another five years after that. (Lorraine recently sold Reef for personal reasons to new owners who have kept the name).
All these sites housed restaurants that had previously failed. “People said it would never work, but I made them work and I’m proud of that,” Lorraine told me over lunch at Annie’s.
Here I need to digress for a moment from the proprietor to the food. I was treated to a generous helping of perfectly cooked cod on a bed of spinach and curried vegetables. It was like summer on a plate, just wonderful.
With 30 years experience in the restaurant trade, including opening Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers, Lorraine is truly a thoroughbred restaurateur.
“I love the business,” says Lorraine. “I’m passionate about food and about entertaining people. So I create places that I love. I design the concept in my head but it all comes from my heart.
“The restaurants are constantly evolving; I’m always changing designs, wall paper and cushions. It’s like my home, I’m terribly self indulgent!”
She added, “People say to me ‘I just love this place’ and I say ‘you know I do too’ I’m proud of my businesses.”
It’s clear from anyone who has eaten in any of Lorraine’s restaurants that they have a lot of care and consideration put into both the décor and the food.
“We do great food, it’s rustic simple, generous food. Chandeliers can be stunning but no use if the food’s a let down.”
Although she speaks about a number of people with affection, Loraine saves special praise for the her head chef Timmy Tapper who has been with her at Annie’s from the very beginning.
“He’s the most amazing chef I’ve worked with, not only is he a great cook, he’s a nice person. He's ex St John, so he has a really good pedigree and I feel very blessed that he is still part of the madness of Annie's.”
When asked why she felt Annie’s remains such a great success in an increasing tough market, she responded, “We really do care about or customers. We offer great food in a friendly and informal atmosphere. It really is quite unique, fun and very romantic. I wanted to open somewhere unique where people would be really happy that they had arrived and enjoy the experience.”
“I tried to bring into the neighbourhood, a place for everyone. People can come just for coffee, breakfast or lunch, a couple can have cosy, romantic dinners and families can pop in and enjoy our Sunday roasts. For children we have a toy box and if they eat all their food they get one of Annie's sweeties. The appeal, I think is the home from home feeling it has.
"I wanted to create a local institution and that’s what I've done.”
June 3, 2011