Sir Terence Conran plans to flood London with a chain of Albion clones, putting affordable traditional British food as served in his Albion café in Shoreditch, on every other street in London and across the UK. The dream is part emulation, part healthy family rivalry, inspired by the mega-successful chain of high quality eateries opened by Antonio Carluccio - Sir Terence Conran’s brother in law.
The 78 year old’s grip on fine dining in the capital is not showing any signs of loosening with age or recession and there are three sites planned for further Albions, in Victoria, Regent’s Park and Covent garden - openings are planned for spring / summer 2010, with more to follow. As empire building goes, that’s not too upsetting for London foodies, for whom the recession has hinted at only closures of quality dining.
Also, the small-scale café and shop combinations a la Carluccio’s are easier to appreciate than the complexes Sir Terence Conran has a habit of opening - see shop / restaurant / café / bar mega-structure Bluebird and café / oyster bar / crustacea stall / restaurant colossus Bibendum. Not that he’s stopped with those either; he’s got another Boundary planned alongside the spread of Albion cafes and this will replicate the restaurant / hotel / café of the original megalopolis in Holborn.
Not only are the Olympics threatening / promising to change London, looks like Sir TC is doing the same: the future according the man who brought fine dining to London looks like a series of Sundays popping out to the Conran corner shop for some truffle-infused honey and a pint of organic Cornish sheep’s milk, before having lunch in the local café that happens to be decorated with Michelin stars.
Image: The Hole in the Wall Cafe by Bill M from the Londonist Flickr pool