Sally Abé to open the Pem restaurant at Conrad London St James

27 May 2021 by
Sally Abé to open the Pem restaurant at Conrad London St James

The latest F&B outlet designed by consultant chef Sally Abé at the Conrad London St James hotel will be called the Pem and will open on 1 July.

The menu will offer Abé's interpretation of British cuisine using sustainable suppliers, with dishes including poached native lobster, shellfish cream, heritage tomatoes and sweet olive; roasted John Dory with brassicas, lemon and sauce Choron; and black forest gâteau with English cherry ripple ice-cream.

The restaurant name is inspired by suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who threw herself under King George V's horse at the Derby of 1913 and whose family used the pet name ‘Pem' for her.

Abé has appointed a female-led senior team including Laetizia Keating as head chef, who previously worked with Abé at the Harwood Arms in Fulham, and Emma Underwood as general manager, previously general manager at Darby's in Vauxhall.

Abé said: "I have the freedom to serve the food I've always wanted to cook. It's me on a plate. I'm taking classic combinations and really making them my own, like steak and oyster, cheese and onion – I won't be messing with the framework but trying to put a new spin on them without creating challenging or modernist dishes. I want to bring a sense of familiarity and transfer those flavours to high-end restaurant dining. I've also put a lot of emphasis on the desserts – too many people miss out on the last course when they eat out and I've never really understood that, I love them!"

The wine list has been curated by sommelier and wine consultant Emily Harman of VinaLupa, while the space, described as "rosy-hued art deco", features a 70-cover main dining room and 24-cover private dining room.

The Conrad London St James appointed Abé last year and announced a £1.75m investment in the opening of four new food and drink concepts, all operating under her guidance. The Blue Boar Pub relaunched on 17 May and the hotel's first cocktail bar, the Hedgerow, will also open in July. An afternoon tea lounge is expected to be the fourth concept.

Abé was previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms in Fulham and won the Cateys Pub & Bar Award last year.

Beverly Payne, general manager at the 256-bedroom Conrad London St James, said: "The Pem is the restaurant I've always wanted to see in the hotel: it's glamorous and elegant. It's very connected to the local area, and it's going to be a magnet for those who already love Sally's flair, and for everyone who wants to be excited by her imaginative food. Sally and I share the same work ethic and instincts when it comes to delivering a really top-class experience. We both very much lead from the front to create excellence, strong teams and inspiration for a new generation of chefs and hospitality professionals."

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