Restaurant group D&D London is to open two new restaurants in the City of London next year, located at the Grade II-listed Old Bengal Warehouse off Bishopsgate.
The company will launch two eateries, a steak/chop house and a fish restaurant, as well as a wine shop at the 10,000sq ft development, which forms part of the Devonshire Square Estate which is also home to the nearby Cinnamon Kitchen and Devonshire Terrace restaurants.
D&D London's yet-to-be-named restaurants will be housed in the ground floor and basement of the 18th-century warehouse and include extensive outdoor terrace seating within the historic building's walled courtyards. Interiors will be developed by London design consultancy Conran & Partners.
The restaurants are scheduled to open after Easter, but details about the design, staffing and food offer are yet to be decided. The wine shop will specialise in wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy and will be available for tasting events as well as private dinners.
D&D London chairman and chief executive officer Des Gunewardena told Caterersearch.com the group had had the site for some time but faced complications owing to its historic status. "It's a wonderful old building with a great history," he said. "It's in a location we know very well as we used to have the Great Eastern hotel just around the corner and we were keen to get back into it. It's really central to the City but at the same time it's tucked away and you have to find it."
The Old Bengal Warehouse was the first of the warehouses built by the East India Company at Devonshire Square and was constructed between 1768 and 1771. It was used for storing spices from the Far East. Unused from the mid-1970s the building fell into disrepair and was included on the English Heritage At Risk register. The upper parts of the building have since been developed as luxury apartments, with D&D London taking over the ground and basement floors.
D&D London, which was formerly called Conran Restaurants and is still 51% owned by Sir Terence Conran, currently operates more than 30 restaurants in London, Paris, Copenhagen, New York and Tokyo. The two restaurants at the development will be the first London opening for D&D London since Launceston Place and the Modern Pantry (a co-venture with Anna Hansen) in 2008.
"After the management buy-out in 2006, we opened a whole lot of stuff, around 10 restaurants in two years in London, Copenhagen and Tokyo," added Gunewardena. "But in London we haven't opened anything since 2008 so with the opening of three new things next year it's going to be a very busy year for us."
In 2012 the company will open two further sites in the City - a new café at the Royal Exchange shopping centre, where it already runs Restaurant Sauterelle and the Royal Exchange Grand Café, and its first hotel.
Located at South Place, the hotel will include 80 bedrooms, meeting and private-dining facilities as well as a ground-floor bar and grill and a rooftop restaurant. "The hotel is coming along very well. We're scheduled to open after the Olympics next year but we will see if we can perhaps open one of the restaurants before then," Gunewardena said.
In 2013, D&D London will expand outside the capital with the launch of two restaurants at the Trinity Leeds shopping and leisure development in Leeds.
By Kerstin Kühn
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