Pollen Street Social chef-proprietor Jason Atherton has revealed that he is opening a fourth London restaurant this year, at Edition, the new luxury lifestyle hotel brand from Marriott International, in Berners Street.
The 120-seat restaurant at the former Berners hotel will be called Berners Tavern. It takes Atherton's tally of restaurants worldwide to 10.
The 173-bedroom hotel was acquired by Marriott International in November 2010 and it has since been developing it as part of the Edition brand in partnership with hotel design icon Ian Schrager.
"I'm really excited to be working with Ian Schrager and to have renewed my connection with Marriott. It was great working with Marriott [at Grosvenor Square] when I created Maze for Gordon Ramsay Holdings, and I am extremely proud of my time there, having taken over a loss-making restaurant and turned it into a £12m turnover restaurant. It was a pretty sensational set-up with GRH and hopefully we will do the same again here," said Atherton.
The restaurant, headed up by long-term colleague Phil Carmichael, will reintroduce the sharing concept that Atherton was famed for at Maze. "I want to continue that," said Atherton. "Ever since I left Maze I've always wanted to develop what we started there. The food is going to be relatively simple, but the execution will be brilliant. We will be using British ingredients and will let the seasons sing. Phil has been with me for 10 years; he was with me when I created my first dish for Maze, and he went on to open Maze Prague (where he was awarded a Michelin star) and Maze in South Africa."
After a six-month sabbatical, Carmichael has been working with Atherton as a development chef for the past year and a half.
"I decided to call it Berners Tavern because I hate restaurants carrying my name, and even though I will be there most days, not cooking, but overseeing it, Pollen Street Social is where I cook day to day," Atherton added.
In addition to the 120-seat dining room, Atherton's team will look after a 20-seat private dining room and room service. As the hotel's main restaurant, it will serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Alongside Carmichael, Atherton's executive team - Michael West, sommelier Laure Patry, and recently crowned World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2013 Gareth Evans - will oversee the opening. Average spend will be approximately £25 at lunch and £50 for dinner.
The restaurant will benefit from having its own street entrance and toilets. "I always think that when you leave a restaurant to use the toilets, or you have to fight your way through crowds of people checking in to a hotel you lose some of the magic from a restaurant. We won't have right;
Atherton said the room would be chic and stylish with "beautiful banquettes and great use of wood". The back bar will run floor to ceiling, and the ceiling has been carefully restored to its ornate former glory.
The Edition brand got off to a sticky start in 2010 after the owners of the first hotel to carry the name in Hawaii fell out with Marriott. It has since been rebranded. Edition London, which is set to open on 12 September, will join the Istanbul Edition, with further properties scheduled for Miami Beach, New York. Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Bangkok. General manager of the London hotel is David Taylor, who previously headed the Hoxton hotel.
Tim Miller, managing director of Edition, said the hotel will mark Schrager's return to London, where he previously launched the Sanderson and St Martins Lane hotels. "Back then Ian was focused on doing something very bold in terms of design which would set tongues wagging. Now, as someone who is more grown up, he has created a new hotel which combines the style for which he is well known with the high service levels which guests now expect," he said.
"The London hotel is a gem of a site, a rare Grade II-listed property where we have retained the original features of the building (which date back to 1835) and introduced modern furnishings and sensibilities.
"Having Jason on board is very much a meeting of minds as he, like us, likes to marry the old with the new and create a truly authentic experience."
Miller, who first worked with Schrager in 1989, explained the name Edition was chosen to reflect a magazine which has a certain identity - which in the case of the hotels is intended to reflect "an authentic, sophisticated experience with perfect service" - but which varies from location to location.
While the opening of the London Edition takes Atherton's global restaurant count to 10, he did also reveal that he has two further projects planned in Hong Kong later this year and early next year, and he confirmed exclusively to Caterer and Hotelkeeper that he has just signed a deal with InterContinental in Dubai at the Dubai Marina. "The working title is Marina Social and Social Rooms," said Atherton, adding that it would be opening next May or June.
"It's great to be going back to Dubai a decade or so since I went there to open the best restaurant in the Middle East. I go back there with the same ambition and plan."