5 minutes with… Chris Shaw

Toklas restaurant has created a citrus menu designed to showcase rare varieties of citrus fruit from the Todolí Citrus Fundació. The restaurant’s head chef, Chris Shaw, tells us more

Food and Drink 4 Mar 2024

5 minutes with… Chris Shaw

What can diners expect when they come to eat at Toklas?

Diners can expect a nicely sized menu with lots of seasonal modern European-style dishes. We are quite fish and veg focused in general, with a lot of dishes largely being finished on the grill, too. We always have interesting salads and pastas and like to have a fantastic dessert section on offer. Ice creams and sorbets are two of our particularly strong suits.

How did you get into the food industry?

My first job was as a kitchen porter so I could make money to go travelling. I got a great buzz from working in the kitchen, so then joined Petersham Nurseries in Richmond as commis chef. It all started from there, really.

Toklas, offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine
Toklas, offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine

What can we expect from the Toklas citrus menu inspired by Spain’s Todolí Citrus Fundació [Todolí Citrus Foundation, home to over 400 varieties of citrus]?

There’s a prevalent theme of citrus across our menu at the moment. Predominantly used in desserts but also in the crudos and salads we serve, too. Todolí citrus is a huge part of our menu development process – you might find finger limes paired with fennel on our seabass crudo, or a sorbet on the desserts list using pomelo, which isn’t an ingredient you find very often in London restaurants.

Toklas has worked closely with the Fundació for a while now. What have you enjoyed the most about working with it?

The quality of produce has to be the main thing to mention, but visiting it this year was a huge highlight – it’s such a beautiful place with incredibly talented people working there. You can see the love that goes into the work, and we reap the rewards of that with the produce we get to use in the kitchen.

Is there an item on the menu that you are most passionate about?

The sea bass crudo (already mentioned) with Todolí citrus is amazing. We marinate the fish with Mexican lime, then serve a finger lime next to it so the guests can squeeze it over themselves for a fresh finish on the dish. It’s a dish that really embodies what Toklas is about, and we’re serving it on the menu at the moment.

The Todolí Citrus Fundacio menu includes Imperial lemon sorbet and Pomelo sorbet
The Todolí Citrus Fundacio menu includes Imperial lemon sorbet and Pomelo sorbet

How long can we expect to see Todolí citrus on the menu for?

For the next couple of months it’s going to be in full flow. We will be preserving citrus for the summer months so we can keep elements of it on the spring and summer menus, which is a really nice way of continuing the theme throughout the rest of the year.

What ingredient could you not live without and why?

It has to be flour because I definitely couldn’t live without bread!

Ravioli with cime de rapa, chestnuts and sage, £16
Main menu: Ravioli with cime de rapa, chestnuts and sage, £16

What do you love to do in your spare time?

Quite a lot of eating out – London has a lot to offer and it’s always a great opportunity to see what other chefs are working on and to show support for the industry as a whole.

What next for Chris Shaw?

Nothing in the pipeline yet, Toklas is where I belong.


You can experience the Toklas citrus menu throughout the citrus season, which typically runs from October to March; toklaslondon.com