Berwick Street pub The Endurance — which closed in summer 2013 — reopens today, but not quite as you might remember. It has been transformed into London’s first Chinese gastropub. It's split across two floors, with the downstairs offering Chinese bar snacks and a big choice of beer, while a chop suey restaurant is on the first floor. Dishes available include kung po chicken, crispy shredded beef, sesame prawn toast and roasted duck.
The man behind the move is a certain Alan Yau, who founded the Wagamama, Busaba Eathai and Hakkasan groups, and also runs Yauatcha on Broadwick Street and has recently launched Babaji on Shaftesbury Avenue. If his track record is anything to go by, it’s likely to be a success.
But while this may be the most high-profile internationally-influenced gastropub to spring up in recent times, it's not the first. By all accounts, global gastropubs — and we don't mean boozers that serve Thai grub — could be considered a trend in London at the moment. Take these for example...
When Scott Hallsworth opened Kurobuta near Marble Arch last year, it was billed as a Japanese gastropub. With informal service, a buzzing atmosphere and prominent bar area it’s easy to see why. It could perhaps better be called an izakaya — an informal Japanese drinking establishment which serves food to go with the drinks. The latest of these to open is Beer & Buns near Liverpool Street, which pairs Japanese steamed buns with a range of craft beers and games including table football — it’s a pub by any other name.
Earlier this year we saw the launch of craft beer pub The Italian Job in Chiswick serving a rotating range of small-batch Italian ales and lagers, with 12 on tap at all times. The food offer includes cheese-laced burgers, arancini and bruschetta.
Moo Cantina in Pimlico serves steak, sandwiches and Argentine street food alongside a host of craft beers from Argentina and beyond. It's set in a former boozer and much of the look remains, while the atmosphere is through-and-through gastropub.
St John’s Wood gastropub Crocker’s Folly is a former Victorian gin palace and an impressive Grade II listed masterpiece. Lebanese restaurant group Maroush have taken it over and recently relaunched it serving a menu of gastropub dishes with distinctly Middle Eastern overtones.
So, are we set to get more global gastropubs which take international cuisines and apply them to our much-loved pub formula? Watch this space...