of The Fig Tree@36
You are a familiar face around the Plymouth food and drink scene, can you tell us a bit about your background and how your love for cooking began.
I started working with my dad when I was 13 and was around the industry as early as I can remember. I worked in a few hotels up north until my early 20’s and then I moved to London and spent 7 years event catering before making the move to Plymouth, for my first head chefs role.
Having worked in restaurants across the city, was opening the doors to The Fig Tree at 36 the realisation of a dream?
Tanya and I had spoken about opening a restaurant of our own one day. I think this is every chefs dream, to have freedom and control to express their true passion of food.
However we had not planned on doing so with a toddler and a baby, none the less it was a fantastic opportunity and one not to be missed.
How much does the local area and local ingredients influence the menu at the restaurant?
Our style of cooking and ethos has evolved as we have grown and become more confident. We always planned to have an ever changing menu, using ingredients as local as possible. We always wanted our own place to have a bistro vibe, a neighbourhood feel to it and our location suits this perfectly. Our aim is to serve amazing food, in a relaxed environment. So far we feel we have achieved this, winning a few awards and Michelin and AA recognition is obviously a bonus
So, with Autumn upon us what can we expect to see on the menu?
Autumn is lovely time of the year, more slow cooking coming in, pork belly, beef brisket, duck confit with all seasonal veggies and pulses. Something to warm your bellies as the cold weather is drawing in. I do think autumn would be my favourite season.
The pandemic has given all of us opportunity to learn new things. Are there any new dishes, flavour combinations or ingredients you have discovered (or rediscovered) during lockdown?
To be honest during lockdown we just tried to survive. Took some family time, which anyone who works in hospitality knows is rare. We revaluated our business and the direction it was going in. We redecorated and we set in motion our Fig Tree Deli and Fig Tree @ yours. Knowing the pandemic was not yet over, we wanted to make sure we can offer our customers something in the event of further restrictions.
I understand you are launching a new ’Trust The Chef’ feature. Can you tell me a little more about it.
Trust the Chef Thursdays – this is the only menu we will be running on a Thursday. It’s a mystery what you will have until the food arrives at your table. You get to choose an option of meat, fish or veggie - 3 courses for £25. This is a way for us to play with different ideas, some dishes that may not normally be on the menu and for us a fantastic way to develop new ideas and revisit past dishes. It has been that popular its proving to be a sell out each week, which took us by surprise. Watch out for trust the waiter with drink pairing, this will be coming soon as we develop future menus.
"We always wanted our own place to have a bistro vibe, a neighbourhood feel to it and our location suits this perfectly. Our aim is to serve amazing food, in a relaxed environment."
36 Admiralty Street | Plymouth | PL1 3RU
Tel: 01752 253247
We speak to owner and Head Chef of The Fig Tree @ 36,Ryan Marsland, about his career, autumn produce and how opening the restaurant with his partner Tanya, was a realisation of a dream.
The festive period is going to be slightly disjointed this year, what plans do you have in place to make sure we see the end of 2020 on a positive note?
Restaurants have had everything thrown at them recently and christmas looks like the biggest loss. No more big tables, no late tables, it is difficult. We have started to offer the fig tree @ yours concept. This is our takeaway collection service, our food served cooked, then chilled, ready for you to reheat at home. This year we are offering your christmas day lunch package, so you will get your whole christmas dinner cooked for you, packaged with instructions ready for you to plate up at home in your own leisure. All you have to do is wash the dishes, sorry we are unable to provide a washing up service. Also on our deli we will be selling our famous turkey rolls, gravy and lots of other goodies for you to prepare at home. Our aim is to help with christmas and take the stress away so you can enjoy more time with your family. One thing lockdown has made us appreciate, is the time with love ones is to not be taken for granted.
Finally, if you were PM for the day, what policy would you change, or implement, In order to help the Hospitality industry?
Quite simply I would like to know what a 10pm on curfew on restaurants following strict guidelines does to curb the virus? Implementing a 10pm curfew on restaurants means we have lost a sitting and more revenue. We are already at half capacity with social distancing measures in place, losing a sitting means the industry takes another financial hit.