About Liam Dillon
With previous experience in some of London’s and the world’s best kitchens, think Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Five Fields in Chelsea and Tom Sellers’, restaurant Story, Liam has returned to his hometown with the goal of raising the bar of Midlands dining scene via the opening of The Boat Inn, his first solo venture in 2017.
Liam’s cooking is inspired by his travels in Australia where produce was king and has applied the simplicity of cooking with premium ingredients to the menu at The Boat Inn.
Our sustainability journey started naturally with not being on the mains for our water/waste. An interesting topic but this was the first port of call to get right for the whole restaurant. The water treatment plant was heavily invested in to make sure that the process was correct and clean water was being produced. Working our way back to the restaurant we dug part of the car park outside the kitchen to install new and larger grease separators. This tank and the tank in the car park is emptied twice a year to make sure that the system is totally under control. Into the kitchen and as part of the water system we installed another grease catcher which stops food solids getting into the system. The system now produces clear water that can be used to water with great properties can be used to water the grass, help with composting & watering other shrubs.
During lockdown we turned our attention to the land which the restaurant sits on. We installed soak always for surface water to drain away that used to gather on the car park and then flood houses next door to the restaurant. We installed water pipes that can then run irrigation systems to water the plants in the car park. We had chickens before but their run wasn’t very substantial so we built a new coop that was totally enclosed from any predators. The restaurant now uses these eggs in their daily preparations where we can.
The polytunnel was put up on the land at the end of the garden so we can grow more produce ourselves. Our head gardener Sadie Cameron is doing a stunning job in getting as much as she can from the land. She has also qualified in aquaponics, so we shall soon have a running aquaponics system on site that will allow us to grow crops successfully through the colder months and without the need for soil.
We work closely with our suppliers to make sure our ingredients are at their best. Our fish is sourced with care to make sure that we fish what is in abundance. At times wild fish is at risk of being over fished, we turn to quality farmed fish. Traceability & sustainability are high on our agenda when it comes to our ingredients. Our polytunnel creates small amounts currently for the kitchen and our chickens supply us with stunning eggs. More of the land on site is used for fruits and berries with more trees and plants being planted constantly.
Our wine list has a large natural wine offering which goes back to classic techniques and not always filtered so sediment is left in the bottle purposefully, adding structure and complex flavours. We love exploring small vineyards with fantastic standards and honest work ethics then bringing them to your table.
Liam’s progressive approach to the dining scene in Lichfield has seen him win numerous
awards in a very short amount of time. The restaurant is currently the only restaurant in Staffordshire to hold 3AA rosettes for culinary excellence which was awarded in 2021. Awarded ‘Best Chef’ at the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards. Soon after, The Boat Inn picking up ‘Best Independent Restaurant’ by the Taste of Staffordshire Awards in 2018. Most recently the restaurant was awarded ‘Newcomer of
The Year’ and then ‘Highest new entry’ at the Top 50 Gastropub Awards. Also a gold award in the square meal guide and a listing with Hardens. It was three and a half weeks after the restaurant opened that the Michelin Guide came down to check out Liam’s new venture. The Boat Inn has now been listed in the Michelin Guide ever since it opened in 2017.