We chat to restauranteur Andrei Lussmann, MD and founder of Lussmanns Sustainable Dining.
Fifteen years since launching a small café on the Portobello Road, Lussmanns has evolved into a successful, independent collection of four locally driven restaurants with a focus on making ethical and sustainable dining accessible to all. We caught up with Andrei Lussmann to ask him about his restaurants in Hertford, Harpenden, Hitchin and St Albans.
How did you first get into the hospitality sector?
My parents thought I would be good in hospitality and I was a huge fan of Keith Floyd when I was younger, so this just cemented it really and here I am 30 years later.
What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned during your 30 years’ experience?
There are three things really and they are:
- The importance of resilience
- The relevance of a sense of humour
- The value in knowing your numbers; you may have good profit margins but if you don’t have cashflow then your business is not working well.
In what ways are your restaurants sustainable?
Our environmental footprint is lightweight. All the decisions we make are underpinned by a strong ethical position, from using green energy to recycling everything and the provenance of our ingredients. Our meat is either organic or from high welfare British farmers. Our fish is MSC certified, and our menus have become more veg driven and less reliant on meat dishes. We have a strong social responsibility too, whereby we raise between £5-10K a year for a rotating chosen local charity.
Describe dining at Lussmanns
Dining at Lussmanns is stylish but non-fussy; it can feel smart but it’s not pretentious and fits the bill for most occasions and all walks of life. Our dishes are true crowd-pleasers and are great value, making them accessible to a wide demographic.
It’s been a tough year for hospitality. What’s your vision of the future for Lussmanns?
We just can’t wait to get back to what we do best and to open more restaurants.
Where are you happiest?
When I have a buzzy restaurant with lots of happy diners enjoying their food and the company of the others.
What would be your perfect meal?
It would have to be a quiet spot on the Med, enjoying a fresh grilled fish and a chilled glass of rosé.
What can we all do to ensure we’re making more sustainable food choices?
Demand more answers about where your food comes from and eat less meat. When you do eat meat, ensure it’s ethically farmed and top quality. Also, eat MSC certified fish where you can.
Can you suggest a quick, simple recipe for our readers to try?
Wild South Coast Sea Bream
2 wild sea bream fillets
1 clove garlic, chopped
60g shallots, chopped
4 anchovy fillets
20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
sprig of fresh thyme
50ml white wine
12g black olives
salt and pepper
Place two fillets of sea bream (skin on) in a hot, lightly oiled, non-stick pan. Cook skin-side down until the skin is crisp, then turn over but do not allow to colour.
While the fish is cooking, pan fry the garlic, shallots and anchovies in the butter until golden.
Add the tomatoes, capers and thyme along with the white wine.
Once cooked, transfer to a bowl with the olives and mix. Season and serve on top of the fish.