Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: dolls, auctions, closures and chocolate
It’s all change for Kurobuta in Chelsea this month, as the Japanese restaurant shuts and re-opens on 30 January at bigger premises further down King’s Road. The site it’s leaving was originally intended only as a pop-up space while overrunning work finished on the site of the proper Kurobuta in Marble Arch, but popularity led to it sticking around. Owner Scott Hallsworth — who was head chef at Park Lane Japanese restaurant Nobu before founding Kurobuta — won’t be letting the property go, he’ll be turning it into new restaurant Joe’s Oriental Diner. Due to launch in mid February, this venture will be simpler and less glossy than Kurobuta and take Southeast Asia as its inspiration, rather than Japan. Dishes will include a beef short-rib rendang, slow-cooked duck red curry, sour Thai sausages and roasted scallops with chilli jam. Read our review of Kurobuta.
Dolls on a roll
Pop-up group The Dead Dolls Club are closing their Hoxton Square Dolls House this weekend, and relocating to Upper Street a few weeks later. The new site will take over bar and dining space House of Wolf — which we always found to be a little up its own arse — and operate over three floors from Wednesday to Sunday. It will feature a bar majoring in cocktails, regular live music, and a restaurant headed-up by ex-The Salt House chef Daryl Wilson. Most interestingly, it will also have a member’s club element to it. To join up, you’ll need to fill in a form and bring a ‘gift’ in the form of a bottle of high-end spirit from a list. In return you’ll get a welcome drink, free entry to all events held on the site and access to a members’ bar that’s open until 4.30am.
It has been brought to our attention that as of earlier this month, Paramount — the restaurant atop Centre Point by Tottenham Court Road — has closed. The restaurant operators say they have “agreed to surrender the lease to the landlord, allowing the redevelopment plans for Centre Point to go ahead”. This suggests that there is now nothing to stop the building’s landlords Almcantar proceed with turning the tower into flats. This has been their intention for years now, but legal action from the restaurant previously prevented them from doing so due to the terms of the restaurant’s lease. Paramount launched as a private members’ club in 2008 and opened to the wider public in 2010.
New Bond Street auction house Bonhams deals in the seriously high end, and it now has a restaurant to match. A decadent European menu from head chef Tom Kemble — previously at Chiswick’s Michelin-starred Hedone — will be accompanied by a wine list among the capital’s best. Exclusive bottles will be bought in from sales taking place on-site, and two enomatic machines will allow some special vintages to be available by the glass. As with anything at Bonham’s, just don’t expect it to come cheap.
Chocolates taste better when they contribute to a good cause. Especially when special flavours have been created by many of London’s top chefs, to be auctioned in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. They include a ganache featuring a maple and waffle croquante encased in white chocolate and topped with duck crackling from Dan Doherty of Duck & Waffle, and a number featuring a salted raspberry reduction and a gin martini ganache from chocolatier Paul A Young. The auction kicks off on 26 January and all proceeds will go to Galvin’s Chance, a scheme which aims to find work in the hospitality sector for disadvantaged young people.
Elsewhere on the London restaurant scene, chef Michael Riemenschneider has left his Chelsea restaurant Canvas following a supposed dispute with investors. The news comes just six months after the site opened, replacing the original Canvas site in Marylebone which itself lasted just half a year. On Exmouth Market, what was Bonnie Gull Seafood Café — which we reviewed when it opened — has re-launched as Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar, switching its focus from main dishes to small plates and bar snacks. And historic coaching inn The Ealing Park Tavern has been restored and relaunched today as a gastropub and microbrewery.
Chinese restaurant Chai Wu has now launched in Harrods, healthy deli and eatery Little H has opened in Parson’s Green, and another branch of fish & chip group Kerbisher & Malt has arrived in Clerkenwell — branded simply Kerbisher. The seventh Draft House pub launches near Hammersmith next month, while Soho whisky shop Milroy’s will also reopen with the addition of a basement cocktail bar. Later in the year, Kurt Zdesar — the restaurateur behind Soho’s Chotto Matte — will open a fish restaurant called Bouillabaisse on Mill Street in Mayfair.
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