We awoke to the news on Friday morning that Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, the legendary restaurateurs, had secured the Oriel site on Sloane Square after Lord Cadogan had given them the thumbs up. A week earlier they had announced they are also to open Brasserie Zedel on the former Atlantic Bar and Grill site just off Piccadilly Circus. They aim to have both places open before the Olympics comes to town next year and not forgetting The Delaunay, which opens next week.
The headlines over the past few weeks have been dominated with economic turmoil in Europe and signs of another recession. But forget George Osborne’s monotonous tones about the faltering British economy and Angela Merkel telling us how the show should be run, the London restaurant scene is most definitely not in need of any quantitative easing.
Recently we have been seeing recession friendly gaffs, both in restaurant design and menu prices, such as Russell Norman’s Polpo and Julian Bigg’s Ducksoup opening up but now the high rollers are back and ready to put down some serious wonga.
The crassly expensive C. London gained a sister last week by the name of Downtown Mayfair by G. Cipriani. This stealth opening has popped up on the former Haiku site, just off Savile Row. Whether London needs a second, seemingly confused, Cipriani serving a Croque Monsieur for £17.00 or having a sushi bar in the basement is yet to be seen.
The discreet Arjun Waney is on a roll with the Arts Club which opened last month for hedge funders and Gwyneth to mingle and do breakfast. If they get bored they can now hop in their chauffeured Mercs for two minutes to Aurelia on Cork Street. The usual guff on the concept of the menu is statutory. Sharing plates are the name of the game (where isn’t now?) and the prices echo those found in the fashion houses on neighbouring Bond Street. A sharing plate of pork belly is £18.50. Nevertheless the place was buzzing, rammed. But it doesn’t stop there for this private equity guru who next year is opening Banca on North Audley Street and a South American restaurant called Villa Rosa on Piccadilly.
Richard Caring is happy to keep investing his rag trade millions into restaurants with the meat version of Scott’s, 34 opening next week as well as his plans for Balthazar in Covent Garden and The Ivy cafe on Curzon Street both opening their doors early next year.
Arkady Novikov is making his debut in the big smoke with Novikov opening on 1st December on Berkeley Street. There is going to be a 150 seat Asian restaurant, a brave move when opening up opposite Nobu, and a 150 seat Italian restaurant. This place is bigger than the athletes canteen will be at the Olympic village.
There is no doubting that these high-profile restaurant openings by reputable restaurateurs are creating hundreds of jobs and coaxing more money from tourists and Londoners alike, benefiting the economy. The speed at which these high-end restaurants are opening is frantic. Quicker than Usain Bolt.
I am not sure what London is going to be like during the Olympics but one thing for sure is that we can offer visitors some of the best restaurants in the world. Even if Team GB does not win any gold medals on home soil, our restaurants sure will.