Mourad Hamadache, head chef

What's the idea behind the menu at The Prince Arthur?

We actually wanted to keep it as a British, seasonal gastro-pub. So in the winter, lots of gamey dishes and in the summer we keep it nice and light. That's what we look for. We generally change the menu for each season, I think last year we changed it five times. We use what's in season so it's cheaper and it's more reliable to find in the markets.

What's the most popular dish on the menu?

The steaks and burgers are always the winners. They're straightforward and people love it. The cote du boeuf here is really good and people really go for it. The burger is good for a chilled night like Monday night on the quiz night.

Yeah, people really love their meat round this way.

That's why the meat's so important on the menu. The lamb is another signature dish we have here, it's also really popular with the locals.

Have you always cooked or is it something new with you?

I always cooked as my grandfather had a small restaurant back home where I'm from in Algeria. He cooked north African food like cous cous and tagine with lots of spices. There was always lots of food when I was around when I was little, so I think that's where the idea of being a chef came from. I moved here quite young but as soon as I finished college I knew I wanted to cook.

What's the one ingredient you can't live without?

Cumin. I don't use it too much in the restaurant because it's more middle Eastern/African but I love it. Plus chilli and garlic are my favourite flavours, I can do so much with them.

Have you ever created anything for the menu that hasn't worked at all?

I did. I created a Tonka bean pannacotta. I put it on the menu and I think it's lovely, but it just didn't work. I'm still not sure why. People just prefer traditional desserts like sticky toffee pudding or brownies.

Where do you rate in the area for food?

I like Lardo, I go to Stoke Newington Church Street for Sunday roast if I'm not working at the Arthur – The Three Crowns is good. My girlfriend's a big foodie so we're always trying out new places, depending on where we are in London, north or south.