US-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is to return to London next year, with the opening of a branch of his Spice Market restaurant brand.
The three-Michelin-starred chef is due to launch the new restaurant in the 192-bedroom W Hotel London at Leicester Square, which will open in February. Serving a menu inspired by South East Asian flavours, it will be the sister restaurant to the original Spice Market in New York's Meatpacking District and marks Vongerichten's return to London after nearly eight years.
The chef previously ran London restaurant Vong in the Berkeley hotel, now occupied by Koffmann's, from 1995 to 2003. The opening of Spice Market will reunite the chef with the original Vong team including chef de cuisine Tim Tolley, who was head chef at Vong, and general manager Bertrand Pierson.
The opening forms part of a deal Vongerichten and partner Phil Suarez signed with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to run restaurants in Starwood properties including seven Spice Markets worldwide. The first to open were Spice Markets at the W Hotel in Atlanta, Istanbul and Doha.
Inspired by South East Asia, Spice Market London will serve a menu featuring exotic curries and spices. Open from breakfast through to dinner, signature dishes will include spiced chicken samosa with coriander yogurt; cod with Malaysian chilli sauce and Thai basil; and desserts including Ovaltine kulfi, caramelised banana and spiced milk chocolate.
Spice Market's interior will be designed by Concrete and will comprise a mix of the authentic Old World feel of Spice Market New York and the contemporary architecture of the new W building in London. Spread over two floors, it will feature black leather banquettes and booths as well as a ‘birdcage' gold spiral staircase and 600 custom-designed shimmering wok lamps, covering most of the ceiling. The rear wall of Spice Market will house a 24 metre-long wall of spices containing all the colours, flavours and fragrances of the South East Asian dishes served at Spice Market.
The winner of the 2010 Roux Scholarship, Kenneth Culhane of BaxterStorey, is travelling to New York to do his winning stage at Jean George, one of five restaurants in the city with three Michelin stars.
By Kerstin Kühn
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