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Meet The Chef: Nathan Cornwell of Silver Birch


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By Ina Yulo Stuve on 5th July 2024

Chiswick may not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks about where to head for dinner. But there’s a little spot on Chiswick High road that’s delighting both locals and those who are coming from further afield, drawn to new chef Nathan Cornwell’s delicious, seasonal cooking.

Cornwell comes with a pedigree that is bursting with Michelin stars—Kitchen W8, Geranium in Copenhagen, Oaxen Krog in Stockholm, and The Barn at Moor Hall, to name a few. Cooking was always on the horizon for Cornwell, who says he knew from a young age that it was a passion of his and one that he knew he would eventually pursue as a career. “I had strong love with produce as my family grew their own veg and loved all things food,” he shares.

A few days after our dinner at The Silver Birch, they were awarded the coveted 3 AA Rosettes, an absolutely well-deserved achievement! The restaurant has a welcoming and accommodating neighbourhood vibe. It’s clear that most diners are locals, and we overhear some tables talking about how there’s nothing like The Silver Birch in the area. There’s no frills about Cornwell’s cooking, but it’s in fact in the simplicity of the elements on the plate that each ingredient is able to shine. Cured sea bream, crispy pig’s head, and an herby cheesy cracker arrive as a welcoming trio of snacks. Organic celeriac sits beautifully in a broth of celeriac tea, with picked onions and herbs adding texture and crunch. Oscietra caviar makes its appearance in a dish with smoked eel from Devon, bathed in a sauce of pickled leek and chives. Desserts are a tantalising display of technique, textures, and flavours such as those in the show-stopping brown butter chocolate delice with caramelised white chocolate.

The Sybarite speaks to Cornwell about his new venture and his favourite thing about Chiswick.

What’s the most challenging part about a career in hospitality?

It’s a really tough industry and there are many different challenges but it’s something that you have to be completely immersed and committed to and unfortunately it does have an effect on your personal life so I’d say that’s one of the toughest aspects.

What made you decide to move on from The Barn at Moor Hall?

I had done four years at The Barn and I had achieved what I had set out to do and maintained it, so I was ready for a new challenge.

How did your experience working in Scandinavia influence your cooking today?

At the time, New Nordic and Scandinavian food was the pinnacle, and it taught me lots of different techniques that I still use today whether it be salting, pickling or preserving.

If you could describe the ethos of The Silver Birch in three words, what would they be?

Seasonal, thoughtful, simple.

How did you go about creating the new menu you’ve launched at The Silver Birch?

It’s mostly down to the seasons and what is amazing at that particular time. I wanted to create something that ticked all the boxes for people at all sorts of price points.

What’s your favourite item on the menu right now?

So hard to choose although new turbot with Norfolk asparagus and a roe tartare sauce and a little crab and lettuce garnish is pretty special.

If you could have any chef as your sous for the day, who would it be?

It would have to be my first mentor Hywel Jones he was always so hands-on and such a beast. Such a great mentor and chef.

What do you love the most about Chiswick?

I love how close Chiswick is to the river and has some nice green areas to forage.

When entertaining guests at home, what’s on the menu?

Something simple after a long week maybe a simple one like a pot-roasted lamb shoulder and some seasonal veg.

When not at your restaurant, where can we find you drinking and dining? 

I live in North London, so I love Perilla—that’s our local restaurant and always a winner. Also Mansion Francois in St James is always great.

The Silver Birch


Address: 142 Chiswick High Road, W4 1PU


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