Over the summer of 2021, the chic NoMad hotel brand opened the doors to its London property, its first location outside the United States. While the UK is new territory for NoMad, it brought along a secret weapon to ensure its British success: chef Ashley Abodeely.
“When NoMad was coming to life, I truly felt that we were going to build a restaurant with hotel rooms,” Abodeely told Travel + Leisure, looking back at how the brand reeled her in from the restaurant scene more than a decade ago as it began to develop hotels across the U.S. “And that has been my mentality the entire time.”
To Abodeely, cooking for guests is not just intimate, but rather, a way “we can share our stories” one plate at a time.
“I love that we change the menu seasonally and the team is relatively small which helps bring in the best, most passionate people we can find to support the ideas we are trying to pursue,” she said.
As for which stories guests can expect on their plates in London, Abodeely shares, it’s all about what’s fresh — and incorporating a bit of her New York and Los Angeles past into each dish.
“I have always had a passion for seasonality. Being in New York City the seasons change so frequently so it’s important to always be on the pulse with ingredients,” she said. “New York City also has some of the best food as it’s the country’s largest melting pot. Los Angeles has fewer seasons but stays true to the ingredients as well with the local farms producing amazing products so close. I have also been exposed to some of the most flavorful and culturally diverse food in Los Angeles, which has expanded my palate and opened a world of ideas that have started to come to life on my menu in London.”
Side Hustle, the NoMad’s pub dining establishment, is the perfect example of this culinary amalgamation. There, guests can dine on Mexican-influenced cuisine and take their pick for a drink from its large selection of agave-based spirits and cocktails including classic margaritas, palomas, and even a tequila Mai Tai.
“I miss tacos and street food from Los Angeles and wanted to share some of my favorite dishes with the city,” Abodeely says.
Even though she’s bringing her favorite cuisine along, Abodeely is still keeping it as local as possible when it comes to her ingredients.
“I have an amazing team behind me here in London. Some local and some not,” she said. “Starting with the purveyors with the best ingredients and making sure that the quality behind the customer service is also very important. I have definitely leaned on my team to make introductions and meet with all the purveyors and see the facilities that our food will be coming from.”
Beyond Side Hustle, Abodeely is also helming the kitchen at the hotel’s flagship restaurant, the Atrium, which is rather aptly named as it sits in a glass-domed atrium surrounded by lush vegetation. “It’s bright and open and gives you that indoor/outdoor feeling,” Abodeely said.
There, guests can dine on small treats like caviar, lamb tartare, and king crab before moving on to heartier entrees like diver scallops with prawns and fennel, suckling pig with wild greens and smoked bacon jam, or going all-in with a 30-day dry-aged beef.
“I am excited to play with the seafood,” Abodeely said. “Here we are sourcing more of our seafood from day boats in Cornwall as well as oysters from Scotland. The cold water gives the oysters a refreshing flavor that we pair with a cucumber granita and black pepper. I love seafood so much and have really become addicted to the freshness of what we have been getting into taste and serve.”
And that freshness is exactly the lasting taste and memory she’s hoping to leave you — and all her guests — with long after you’re done cleaning your plates.
“I want people to leave thinking how clean and refreshing everything was. I want the guests to leave thinking about the flavors and balance of seasoning,” she said. “Also, I want to add that level of excitement and buzz of trying something new and wanting to come back for the rest of the menu.”
See all the dining options, and make your hotel reservations at the new NoMad London, here.