Published 11 October 2021
Catch up on the latest industry news stories of the week from the CODE Bulletin
Gordon Ramsay opens his latest restaurant today. The River Restaurant replaces Kaspar’s at The Savoy, and gone is the gloomy chic; the 100-year-old black cat; the general feeling of irrelevance. Ramsay has been busy opening burger bars and pizza joints, so his latest venture, while informal and relaxed as far as five star hotels go, is a step back toward his roots. At a launch night last week, Ramsay said Kaspar’s is “six feet under; dead” in his telltale no nonsense way. In the Savoy’s Thames-side restaurant now is a lighter, brighter all day dining room, with interiors designed by Russell Sage. The menu is still focused on seafood. Oysters might precede cod with black olive tapenade, or grilled lobster. The silky artichoke velouté is the foremost nod to Guy himself. Like any upmarket seafood restaurant in London, there is the now necessary plus-£20 fish and chips. The River Restaurant’s cost £24.50 – £31.50 with fries from Koffmann potatoes. All involved are eager to get diners back to The Strand, and that requires headlines.
November will see the arrival of Le Petit Beefbar to London, an “elegant yet cosy” take on Riccardo Giradui’s existing restaurants around the world. The Chelsea site will be the UK’s first in a collection including sites in Mykonos, Dubai, Mirabel, and Monte-Carlo, where the restaurateur opened his first. Giradui describes the concept as a “temple of beef”. Cuts are sourced from Australia, Japan, and the US. A high-end, global steakhouse, then, albeit one without tableside salt dispensing.
Word is the new classic Italian restaurant Bardo St James’s has some big celebrity backers. Money does not seem hard to find at Luca Maggiora’s One Pall Mall space, which is centred on the glamour of 1960s Italy and has Graziano Bonacina, former head chef at Sette in the Bulgari Hotel, leading the kitchen. This will be an “immersive” restaurant, one of Dolce Vita-esque jazz by candlelight, fine wines from Tuscany and the like, and short-rib agnolotti and veal milanese. Bardo opens on 20 October.
Chef Mark Jarvis will relaunch Liv Belgravia as 1771 this week. Opening on 14 October, the restaurant takes its name from the year it was established and will continue to operate as a contemporary British concept. On the tasting menu will be dishes such as cured trout with potato soufflé; oak-grilled langoustine in a shell emulsion; and poached halibut with mustard greens. There will be sharing plates too. Barbecued scallops in seaweed butter and whole truffle-roasted chicken sound very London 2021.
Rochdale favourite Nutters will close after 28 years later this month. Andrew Nutter opened his first solo restaurant aged just 21 with the backing of his now late father Rodney and mother Jean, and has long been a stalwart of the Michelin guide. “It has been a difficult decision to make but these last two years have been extremely challenging,” said a statement. “We wanted to go out while still at the top of our game and it had been increasingly difficult to do that in these times.”
TV chef James Martin has revealed plans to relaunch the train station jacket potato chain SpudULike. The group, a high street staple of the ‘80s and ‘90s, fell into administration in August 2019, but was bought by potato giants Albert Bartlett months later. Martin is now involved. He said: “It’s official… look out for the new menu and new look! To be honest I’m so bloody excited for you to try the new look and new menu… can’t wait.”
Chef Ben Tish has left his position as culinary director at The Stafford London and Norma after three years in the role. He joined the hotel in 2018 to oversee its food offering and in 2019 launched Norma as a standalone restaurant inspired by the food and culture of Sicily. Stuart Procter, chief operating officer of the Stafford Collection, said: “I would like to thank Ben for his contribution to the Stafford Collection over recent years, and we wish him all the best for the future.” News that Lisa Goodwin-Allen was working on a menu redesign at The Game Bird came out a while ago, so it is no surprise that she will be working with The Stafford’s executive chef Jozef Rogulski to look after the concept fully now Tish has gone. His successor at Norma will be Giovann Attard, who was part of the team that launched it and who will continue as executive head chef.
Swedish chef Björn Frantzén, whose restaurants Frantzén in Stockholm and Zén in Singapore each hold three Michelin stars, is the latest Scandinavian to arrive in London, with his first UK spot scheduled to launch in Harrods in 2022. An announcement said Frantzén’s “signature cuisine” will be the focus in Harrods, which will be home to a “state-of-the-art flagship restaurant in a prime location”. Said the Swede: “I worked in England early on in my career and really got a feel for, in my opinion, one of the most interesting cities in the world, so it feels right to be coming back to open in London. Over the past few years there have been several projects and opportunities arise in London, but none have felt right until now. It is an honour to be opening at Harrods as one of the most celebrated institutions in the world.”