Restaurant News from around London

Despite all the doom and gloom London continues to retain its title as Culinary Capital of the World. Here is a round-up of the latest restaurant news.

Joel Kissin To Open New Boulestin Restaurant In London

In April 1994, Boulestin restaurant in Covent Garden closed down after nearly 70 years and London lost one of its most influential and best-loved restaurants. Now Joel Kissin, who alongside Sir Terence Conran was credited with changing the face of the London restaurant scene, is set to introduce this legendary name to a new generation when he opens Boulestin in September 2013.

To be located in St James’s, where The Crown Estate is spearheading a revival of this historic corner of the West End, the new Boulestin will comprise a luxury 60-seat bistro, serving mostly classic French food, a private dining room seating 36 and Café Marcel, a 30-seat casual dining space offering lighter fare. It will be an evolution of the original that was opened in 1927 by Xavier Marcel Boulestin, the French chef, restaurateur, author and pioneering TV presenter who has been called “the most subtle, imaginative and liberating food writer of his day.”

“Boulestin was a restaurant with so much history,” says Kissin. “I’m not trying to copy the original – that was of its time and times have changed. But its history presents a rich tapestry that has.

Andrew Woodford has been appointed head chef. Andrew, who is already working on menus and staffing prior to the September opening, was most recently Head Chef at Colbert, the acclaimed French restaurant on Sloane Square, which he helped to launch. His role at Colbert was his first Head chef position. Previous to this he has held Executive Sous Chef positions as Executive Sous Chef at The Wolseley, Brasserie Zédel and The Delaunay.

Andrew has also enjoyed lengthy spells at other renowned establishments, in the capital and beyond, among them The Monkey Bar in New York, The Arts Club in Piccadilly, Rules and Scott’s.
Boulestin, 5 St James’ Street, London, SW1A 1EF

Hutong at The Shard
Opened 26th June 2013

With panoramic views over the London skyline from Europe’s tallest building and designed by David Yeo, founder of Hong Kong’s Aqua Restaurant Group, Hutong is now open and serving the relatively unknown but fascinating and diverse cuisine of Northern China.

The 130 cover restaurant, situated on level 33 of London’s iconic Shard building takes it its inspiration specifically from the Lu School with its roots in the province of Shandong. This school spread throughout the north and was served in the Imperial palaces in Peking (old Beijing). Hutong’s cuisine captures the subtlety and surprises of Lu cuisine with a wide array of produce with an emphasis on seafood and occasionally influenced by the fiery spices of neighbouring Sichuan province.  Based on the much-loved restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong, regarded as one of the world’s leading Chinese restaurants, London’s Hutong will be the first overseas location for the brand.

Aqua Restaurant Group’s head chef for Chinese cuisine, Yuan Shihai has developed an innovative menu inspired by the culinary styles of Peking, Shandong and Sichuan provinces.  Amongst some of Hutong’s signature dishes in London will be: Crispy deboned Lamb for which the meat from the ribs of the lamb are thrice marinated over a 24 hour period and crisped in the wok; Red Lantern crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan dried peppers; ‘Kung Po’ wok fried prawns with cashew nuts and chilli; Chilli spiced bamboo clams steeped in Chinese rose wine and chilli sauce and Imperial Peking Duck hand-prepared and roasted in Hutong’s own duck oven.  An extensive dim sum menu will also be served at lunchtime.

Rainer Becker, the creator and founding force of Zuma and Roka restaurants, opens OBLIX in The Shard, Early May 2013

Ten years ago Rainer Becker brought his modern Japanese cuisine, based on the informal izakaya style of dining, to London and introduced the robata grill to Europe. His Zuma and Roka restaurants have grown into a global success story with locations from South East Asia to the United States with Zuma New York scheduled to open early 2014.

Moving away from Japanese cuisine and culture for the first time in over a decade, Rainer introduces Oblix, a dual dining experience on the 32nd floor of The Shard, offering Oblix restaurant, and Oblix bar and lounge which will have live entertainment from 9pm onwards.    Becker references a New York grill as the backdrop for the menu with dishes delivered in the Becker signature style of upscale, sophisticated, urban dining. Rainer explains, “Oblix offers a broad selection of dishes.  The menu at its core will be a mixture of grilled and classics, offering a light tasty cuisine that guests can enjoy daily.”

In addition to the a la carte lunch and dinner offering in the restaurant, the bar and lounge will showcase an abundant selection of appetisers at lunchtime for guests to choose from, in the style of a New York delicatessen.  Weekends will offer a brunch menu, accompanied by live music.  A full a la carte menu is available for dinner 7 nights a week.

Porters English Restaurant Orchestrates Extensive Refurbishment and Launches New Menu

Established in 1979, Porters English Restaurant showcases some of the finest English cuisine as well as serving up some of the country’s most well-loved classic dishes. Founded by the 7th Earl of Bradford. With such a great heritage, they have now embarked on an extensive refurbishment and new menu celebrating the best of British for the first time in its thirty-four year existence.

Porters English Restaurant’s overall look and feel has been truly transformed from a ‘gentleman’s library’ into something more English and contemporary with notable design features including; Doctor Who’s time travelling tardis, a unique take on the famous Last Supper painting with 17 British celebrities and icons as well as the Earl of Bradford himself by talented artist Jason Christopher. Guests can also feast their eyes on a contemporary take on the Union Jack flag, a Britannia mural and other great comic book heroes such as Billy Bunter and Dandy Dan adorning the walls. The bar has also been modernised with a stylish stainless steel finish and eye-catching artwork.

English food has recently seen a huge resurgence in popularity, with leading British chefs championing British cuisine, ensuring that we are a nation renowned for its quality and creative fare and Porters have devised a new menu celebrating this. Diners can enjoy a selection of warming and nostalgic British starters, all originating from different regions. Tease your taste buds with the Miniature Yorkshire Puddings with Smoked Mackerel, or why not sample a Warm Scotch Egg, which, contrary to popular belief, originated in London and not Scotland as the name would suggest.

Porters English Restaurant is renowned for its world famous pies, with each being hand-cooked on site delivering the freshest and the most heavenly puff and short crust pastry pies with wholesome and hearty fillings. Porters actually invented the Lamb and Apricot Pie but also serve more modern combinations such as Three Bean, Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Pie. The venue also showcases many of England’s classic ‘hard to beat’ dishes such as, Beer Battered Cod and Toad in the Hole as well as the Porters highlight of Steak and Kidney Pudding.

One Stop Dining Destination By Chef Alan Bird To Launched 6th May

Set within an old Georgian town house and operating over 5 floors in a prime location; Bird of Smithfield is the long awaited venture by Chef Alan Bird. With over 15 years heading the kitchen at arguably London’s most iconic restaurant The Ivy and as a former Group Executive Chef at the International Soho House Group, Bird has received widespread recognition from both peers and trade.

The restaurant’s menu is modern British cuisine; with dishes aiming to explore the influence British food has had both historically and presently. Moments away from Farringdon, Bird of Smithfield will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bird of Smithfield offers a beautiful classically styled dining room featuring Holland & Sherry tweed and herringbone fabrics, a bar with a cosy lounge feel, a basement cocktail bar, an exquisite private dining room with a chef’s table and a roof terrace over- looking the towers of the old market.

The intimate basement bar, known as The Birdcage, hosts live music on selected nights. London-based bar consultancy Fluid Movement (Purl, Worship St Whistling Shop and Dach & Sons) oversees the unique cocktail menu; bringing their creative flair and passion into every glass.

Let the classes commence at Voltaire

Aside from being one of the capital’s most exciting new destination venues, Voltaire is also proving to be something of an education, thanks to the innovative and entertaining line-up of master classes that will take place there over the coming months.

Voltaire boasts the capital’s largest collection of Pommery champagne, and will be celebrating the partnership each month with a series of tasting classes. Alternating between vintage selections and more seasonal offerings, these unmissable events will be conducted in the venue’s stunning vault rooms under the expert tutelage of Jonathan Simms, Champagne Development Manager at Vranken Pommery Monopole UK.

Also creating a bit of a stir in the city is Voltaire’s fabulous cocktail list. For anyone who fancies learning how to mix and muddle with the best of them, the venue’s supremely talented bar team are set to reveal some tricks of the trade at monthly tutorials, each based on a specific ingredient or brand. May for instance will revolve around Get Ready for Summer, and a look at gin-based cocktails containing less than 200 calories, whilst June will see Voltaire pay tribute to one of the capital’s most popular annual events with Fragrant Chelsea Flower Show Cocktails. Future highlights will include Champagne & Pimms – perfect for those picnics in the park, a post holiday rum special and, as the nights draw in once again, an autumnal Irish Whiskey focus followed by Christmas Cocktails and Hot Toddy Making.

All events will begin with a champagne reception, together with a delicious selection of canapés specially prepared by Voltaire’s executive chef. This will then be followed by a fascinating presentation by a master distiller, offering an overview of the history of cocktails, from classic favourites through to contemporary creations. After an interactive cocktail demonstration led by Voltaire’s head mixologist, guests will have the chance to create – and of course sample – their very own design. At the end of the evening, certificates of achievement will be presented, along with a Voltaire goodie bag. There will also be cocktail making kits available to purchase on the night so that pupils can continue their education at home.