It was old news that Brasserie St. Jacques was opening in May on the site of Ristorante Fiori, and before that, the first Pétrus on St. James's St. What was kept secret was the involvement of legendary chef Pierre Koffman. He's taken responsibility for the kitchens, from recruiting the staff to overseeing the menus at the just-opened venue. In charge as head chef is Ashley Hancill who will produce a menu of traditional French dishes from oysters, snails and roast bone marrow with parsley salad to confit de canard, shoulder of lamb and veal kidneys in mustard. The all-day brasserie should pose a challenge to the ever popular Wolseley in Piccadilly. Brasserie St. Jacques, 33 St. James’s St., London SW1, 020-7839-1007.
Circus was the sister restaurant to the Avenue, but suffered a demise when D&D London bought the group after acquiring most of Sir Terence Conran's holdings. A favourite with the media, with an exclusive club downstairs, it's about to reopen as Bob Bob Ricard, designed by David Collins, who was apparently inspired by Edwardian first-class carriages. It's following the trend for big, bustling all-day brasseries, and will stay open to 3 a.m. Bob Bob Ricard, 1 Upper James St., London W1, no phone available yet.
If you can't get into (or can't afford) a full blown meal at J. Sheekey, then you'll be delighted to learn of the forthcoming addition. The company has bought the next door building and is opening the J. Sheekey Oyster Bar in October. J. Sheekey Oyster Bar, St. Martin’s Court, London WC2, no phone available yet.
The Tenth, the restaurant at the top of the Royal Garden Hotel, closed a year ago, much missed by those who knew its good cooking, fabulous views and fun Saturday nights with orchestras of various sizes tempting diners onto the dance floor. It has now reopened as Min Jiang, a top-end Chinese restaurant, inspired by the restaurant at the sister hotel, Goodwood Park, in Singapore. Order the Beijing duck (in advance), graze through the menu or just go for the daily dim sum. Min Jiang, 2-24 Kensington High St., London W8 4PT, 020-7937 8000.
About to open at the top of Parkway in Camden Town, and handy for visitors to Regent's Park and rich Primrose Hillbillies, is Gordon Ramsay's York & Albany. Overseen by Angela Hartnett, who left The Connaught when it shut for refurbishment, this new venture is a restaurant with ten rooms in a former pub that has been closed for several years. A deli, pizza place and dining room for simple Italian food, it should prove popular, though the lack of a bar license means that it won't become the place for a drink in a relaxed atmosphere. York & Albany, 127-129 Pkwy., London NW1, no phone available yet.
Brothers Tom and Ed Martin have opened a new gastropub in Sloane Square. Called The Botanist after local naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, who amongst other ventures set up the delightful Chelsea Physic Garden, it's a pretty venue, designed to appeal to the upper-class locals and Sloaney Ponies. The Botanist, 7 Sloane Sq., London SW1, 020-7730 0077.
Angela Hartnett is busy this month with the opening of her flagship restaurant, Murano, in Mayfair. Opening at the end of June, it will serve classy Italian cooking. Murano, 20 Queen St., London W1.
The stylish Indian "tapas" restaurant, Imli, has launched a new, equally stylish bar where you can sip on the likes of a Bollywood Blast (gin, whisky, triple sec and fresh orange juice) or a classic margarita, all priced at £5.50, which must make these among the most reasonable cocktails in the West End. And if you're averse to alcohol, try one of the fresh fruit juices (£2.95 each), like mango and passion fruit blended with fresh mint or pomegranate and lemonade. Imli, 167-169 Wardour St., London W1, 020-7287 4243.
Pre-Performance NoshingChef Shuffle
Le Cercle, owned by Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon and Cellar Gascon fame, has come up with a new pre-theatre menu, perfect for those going to the Royal Court Theatre for a play or Cadogan Hall for a concert. Three courses at £17.50 or £21.50 for four courses per person, plus tea and coffee, brings the likes of coriander and carrot velouté, crab and avocado or grilled beef onglet and chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream. Le Cercle, 1 Wilbraham Pl., London SW1, 020-7901 9999.
Check back soon for more news.
Check back soon for more news.
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