The big news is the reopening of Quo Vadis on Dean Street, that stalwart of Soho dining that opened in 1926 as the Italian Leoni's Quo Vadis. It must have seemed odd if not downright perverse to open a restaurant for the scourge of the earth (otherwise known as the moneyed classes) in a house that once belonged to Karl Marx, but hey, it flourished. After a stint under Marco Pierre White, the place was bought by Sam and Eddie Hart (of Fino and Barrafina fame, both relatively nearby) and shut for a mighty refurbishment. Well, now it's opened and is buzzing with the sound of contented diners tucking into top brasserie fare. There are even rumours that it is rivaling The Ivy. Quo Vadis, 26-29 Dean St., London W1, 020-7437 9585.
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is in the more than capable hands of Hélène Darroze, a French chef whose eponymous restaurant, Le Salon d'Hélène Darroze, on the Left Bank in Paris has been delighting the great, the good and the very discerning since 1999. Her background includes stints at Alain Ducasse's Le Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo and her own family's restaurant in Villeneuve-de-Marsan. She also takes charge of The Gallery, and private and in-room dining at the hotel. Also in her remit is the reopening of the small Connaught Grill in autumn. It's all part of the £70 million revamp this venerable hotel is experiencing, dusting off its slightly shabby, charming, country house feel for a more glamorous, though still traditional, style. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, The Connaught, Carlos Pl., London W1, 020-7499 7070.
Bumpkin has been delighting the yummy mummy brigade of Notting Hill since it opened. Now, South Ken locals can expect the same relaxed, if expensive, dining when a second Bumpkin opens in September. Bumpkin, 102 Old Brompton Rd., London SW7, 020-7373 2403.
While Alan Yau has been making the news with the opening of Cha Cha Moon in Soho and his swish if rather stiff restaurant, Sake No Hana, in St. James's, his brother Gary has opened Aaya in a part of Soho more associated with seedy sex clubs. It's big, bold and sophisticated and serves top Japanese food. Well worth seeking out. Aaya, 69 Brewer St., London W1, 020-7319 3888.
There are certain names that crop up again and again in London's ever vibrant restaurant world. Along with Alan Yau (and now his brother Gary), the Hart brothers and Gordon Ramsay comes charming Irish restaurateur, Oliver Peyton. He's cornering the market in top dining at London's cultural institutions (National Gallery, Wallace Collection and Fulham Palace) as well as providing good food and views at Inn the Park. The latest opening is the ICA Café and Bar at the Institute of Contemporary Arts on The Mall. Open seven days a week, and to 1 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday, he's providing a contemporary, striking venue for striking, contemporary people. ICA Café and Bar, The Mall, London SW1, 020-7930 8619.
And here's another one from the charming Irishman, Oliver Peyton. Just in time for summer is the opening of The Lawn. This intriguingly named place is set in the equally intriguing Bishop's drawing room at Fulham Palace, one of London's largely neglected gems. If anyone can get the public along (there's also an extensive private events facility), it's Peyton. The Lawn, Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Ave., London SW6, 020-7610 7160.
Buzz at The BerkeleyChef Shuffle
It's finally been confirmed: Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay have officially fallen out. What is galling for Ramsay must be the fact that Wareing will continue at The Berkeley where Wareing launched Pétrus in conjunction with his then-partner, Ramsay, to such acclaim. Come mid-September, it's likely that the restaurant will be renamed, and everyone is betting on Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London SW1, 020-7235 1200.
Check back soon for more news.
Check back soon for more news.
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