With a career commencing at Dublin’s La Stampa Restaurant, Robin Gill then made the move to London where he worked at Marco Pierre White’s three-Michelin-starred, The Oak Room. Next, he ventured to Italy to work at two-Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890 on the Amalfi Coast, a restaurant with its own farm. From Italy back to the UK, when a two-week placement at the infamous Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons alongside Raymond Blanc turned into a four-year stay.
In February 2012, Robin embarked on somewhat of a culinary expedition which saw him on placement in some of the best restaurants in the world including Noma and Frantzén. Upon his return to the UK, he stumbled upon an old ramshackle building in Clapham. After some dubious negotiations, a few beers and with the support of his wife, Sarah, Robin took on the site in November 2012. Five months of hands-on scrubbing, sanding, painting and a lot of help from friends resulted in them opening the doors on St Patrick’s Day 2013, and thus, The Dairy was born.
The Dairy is an exciting modern bistro with a produce led menu, aiming to create a countryside farm to table feel. A back to basics approach means the team prepares almost everything in-house; churning the butter, curing the meats, smoking fish and growing herbs and vegetables in the rooftop garden. Within the first year, The Dairy received numerous awards and became a destination dining spot, drawing diners not just from across the river but from across the globe.
Just 18 months after The Dairy’s launch, Robin opened a second Clapham restaurant, The Manor. Bigger than The Dairy, but very much a modern bistro with the focus still predominantly on produce. In April 2016, Counter Culture joined the family, a snack bar with just 15 seats located right next to The Dairy. It is a celebration of fermenting, curing, pickling and bottling applied to the best of the season’s produce to create simple but inspired snacks. Robin’s most recent project, in January 2018, was the relaunch of The Manor as Sorella. Sorella is a local Italian restaurant with an approach inspired by Robin’s years spent working on the Amalfi coast. Each restaurant creates an environment that is unpretentious and accessible for all, putting the focus on cooking great food and working with passionate producers that share the same philosophy. The group boasts a calendar of events throughout the year from the infamous Bloodshot supper club to fermentation masterclasses.
Robin’s ventures have received awards and recognition across the board, most notably, The Dairy reaching number nine in The National Restaurant Awards and reaching the top 50 in the Good Food Guide. The Manor was named number one Best New Opening in the Time Out guide and received a top 10 rating in the Evening Standard. Just 3 weeks after opening, Counter Culture was awarded a coveted 5 Star review in Time Out London. The article quotes “every so often a restaurant comes along that has me reaching for a sixth star”. Robin and Sarah won The Evening Standard’s Best Restauranteur Award in 2016. Robin personally received the 2016 Good Food Guide Chef of the Year award, was named amongst the OFM top 50 and has received nominations for the GQ Chef of the Year and The London Restaurant.
Away from the restaurants, Robin has cooked at and contributed to many events including Dan Barber’s WastED, Wilderness Festival, The Big Feastival and The Big Grill in Dublin to name just a few. He has hosted guest nights at The Flitch of Bacon and Hawksmoor. 2017 saw the beginning of a collaboration between Airfield Estate in Dublin and Robin which kicked off with a series of dinner events ‘Harvest’ & ‘Wild’ and will continue in 2018. Robin has also contributed recipes to many publications and in early 2016, was given the opportunity to write a weekly series of recipes and cooking tips in the Independent on Sunday. Early 2017 saw Robin as a judge on MasterChef Ireland. He is currently working on his first book, Larder, due out in May. 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting one for Robin with the launch of Sorella in January followed, later in the year, by his first central location and most ambitious project to date.