Henry Anderson Brown tells Charlotte Smith-Jarvis about his time at one of London's top restaurants, and how it continues to inspire his cooking today


Henry Anderson Brown is a special kind of chef. One who stands by traditional techniques, seasonality and quality of ingredients above all else. This classic approach to food has led Henry to amass many fans – and surely they will be out in force this week as he takes on a residency at The Canteen in Southwold? 

Running until Saturday, with an a la carte lunchtime menu, and set price evening offering (£45 including snacks and a cocktail), the cook (who hails from Norwich) will take diners on a kind of culinary journey of his life, drawing on dishes and experiences from his time working in kitchens across the UK and Europe. 

It’s a huge depart from the career path Henry had set out for himself. Though he says he’s always enjoyed cooking, he studied fine art in Newcastle, later undertaking a postgrad in drawing at what’s now the Royal Drawing School in London. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

To make ends meet there was part-time work in a small café. “And I thought, ‘you know what? I think I can make a living out of this’.” 

Henry set down his pencils, and reached for the spoons instead, working around London’s kitchens, including a spell at Jeremy Lee’s inimitable Quo Vadis in Soho, which made a huge impact on his cooking style. “I was his sous chef for two years. It was a really informative time for me. Jeremy’s whole outlook on produce and delivering food that’s really simple and elegant is something I took on board.” 

Henry worked on a biodynamic farm in Herefordshire as an antidote to London life, before heading over to France, and a little bistro in Clermont-Ferrand. He met his now-wife on return to the UK, at a wine bar/kitchen in Bristol. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

Home called. And after moving back to Norwich, Henry took a job with Howard & Son fishmongers, spending the lockdown period delivering seafood to door to door. And there was a spell at Siding Yard in Melton Constable before he took the leap into private parties, supper clubs and weddings, which are his mainstay. 

READ MORE: This Southwold afternoon tea is spectacular

Henry is no stranger to Southwold’s Canteen, with a series of successful pop-ups at the venue already under his apron. And he’s delighted to be back, saying customers will really get a sense of who he is by what’s on the plate. “There’ll be dishes inspired by my time at Quo Vadis, some French bistro food, and a bit feeding into my love of Italian cuisine. I’m a true believer that if you start with delicious raw ingredients you don’t have to do too much to them. I would say my food is produce-led and elegant.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

The daytime menu at Canteen includes a salad of leeks vinaigrette with egg and brown shrimp, a French fish soup, and purple sprouting broccoli with Fen Farm’s St Jude curd, dukkah and raisins. 

Main courses offer a classic onion tart with a bitter leaf and citrus salad, and Irish stew with Suffolk mutton. 

The evening takes a little twist, with every single dish comprising of something ‘stuffed’. “I’m calling the event ‘Farci’. I thought that would be a fun idea,” he laughs, listing off garlicky stuffed mushrooms with watercress salad, squid stuffed with homemade sausage over olive oil mash, inspired by a trip to Portugal, and the ultimate stuffed dessert – profiteroles, with rhubarb and vanilla-scented crème diplomat. 

Book tables via oldhospitalhub.co.uk 

If you miss the boat on these dates, there will be other pop-ups to look forward to throughout the year, and Henry is still taking bookings for private events. Find out more at henryandersonbrown.com