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Johnnie Mountain to open restaurant in the vacant Atrium in Westminster

Great British Menu chef Johnnie Mountain has announced plans to open his second solo restaurant venture in the vacant Atrium at 4 Millbank, in Westminster.

The Atrium, once run by Antony Worrall Thompson, was closed last year but it is set to relaunch in the autumn after a major refurbishment.

Mountain plans to reopen the prestigious venue in mid-October ahead of the lucrative Christmas period, which he expects to generate revenues in excess of £100,000.

The refit, estimated to cost up to £250,000, will be funded in part by the building's landlord based in Hong Kong, which has agreed to contribute £100,000. Mountain will put up the rest of the investment in cash.

The chef-owner of the English Pig in the City of London said that while chefs don't traditionally make good businessmen, he was keen to launch his new venture without the need for private investors.

"All chefs have sugar daddies to prop them up. I don't do that. That's not my new way of doing things," he said. "Nick it off the landlord if you can."

The bulk of the money will be spent on relocating the kitchens. Currently two floors below the dining room, Mountain has signed a sponsorship deal with Electrolux to build a new "all singing, all dancing" central kitchen.

He said: "A central kitchen allows me to keep an eye on the floor and it's great for the customers. The kitchen can see the reactions of the guests and react accordingly."

The Atrium, which will retain its name, will be split into two distinctive elements. The space inside the atrium itself will be "fine-dining aiming for Michelin standards", offering a fixed price menu of £25 for two courses at lunchtime and £40 for four courses at dinner.

The second dining room will be a bar and brasserie offering a casual dining menu of small plates, soups, salads and burgers at a lower price point.

The restaurant will initially operate Monday to Friday but Mountain has plans to open at weekends as the demand for it grows.

Other businesses based at 4 Millbank include ITN News, the BBC Parliament and a Bannatyne's Health Club.

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By Janie Stamford

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