Vietnamese restaurant the House of Ho has revealed Ian Pengelley is to take over as the group's chef director when its new flagship site opens on 1 December.
The London Percy Street location will be set over three floors, and open seven days a week for lunch, dinner, and drinks. It will include a seafood bar and "secret" wine room for tastings, alongside three private dining rooms that will include facilities for conferences or business meetings.
Northamptonshire-born Pengelley trained in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, and was also executive chef at Camden's Gilgamesh when it opened in 2006. He was also group executive chef at Mango Tree in Belgravia, and Pan Chai and Chai Wu in Harrods, Knightsbridge, but will now be present in the House of Ho kitchen every day. He has created a new menu directly inspired by his own trips to Vietnam, including his own love of aromatics, fresh ingredients and Asian herbs.
Dishes will include the Pho Bo, with pho bo jelly, warm clear stock, and waygu short rib carved at the table; minced pork grilled on lemongrass skewers served with a caramel sauce and crab salad; and lemongrass free range chicken with chicken scratchings and a sweet caramel glaze.
Signature plates will also include fresh giant prawns with Vietnamese greens and rice noodles; Hanoi red snapper served with rice noodles; and lapsang souchon smoked rainbow trout with starfruit and chilli salad.
The group has also announced that its first site on Old Compton Street, opened by chef and former company director Bobby Chinn in January 2014, is to be rebranded simply as "Ho".
Also overseen by Pengelley, the rebranded site will seek to offer a contemporary, stripped back menu categorised by pho, salads, sharing plates and sides. Typical dishes will include ‘shaking beef', made with 30-day aged grass-fed Aberdeen Angus; pan fried smoked duck with black sticky rice, orange miso and young vegetables; sharing plates such as soft shell crab served with ground peanuts and creamy spicy sauce; and rolls and sides such as pho cuon rice noodle rolls.
Group owner and chief operating officer Jeff Lim said: "We are excited to be opening our new flagship restaurant, and I'm delighted to welcome Ian Pengelley to the group as chef director. He has made a significant contribution to pan-Asian food in the London restaurant scene and will bring a wealth of experience to both Percy Street and Ho."
Pengelley commented: "I'm delighted to join the House of Ho and Ho Group. It's an exciting time for us and I'm delighted to be back in the kitchen and running the pass."
Commenting on the Old Compton Street Ho rebrand, Lim said: "[This] is the first part of the development plans we have for the Ho Group moving forward."
The House of Ho was previously announced to be operated by chef Bobby Chinn, who was a company director for two years. In a statement, the company said: "After two years at the helm… Chinn has decided to move on and focus on new projects". It was not able to comment further on Chinn's departure or his new direction.